Friday, June 21, 2024

CAG Rai, Joshi deny 2G audit was influenced


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NEW DELHI: India’s top auditor Vinod Rai on Wednesday firmly dismissed allegations that the controversial audit report on the allocation of 2G telecom spectrum was influenced by Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Murli Manohar Joshi.

Joshi, who heads parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that oversees government spending, also denied he had tried to put pressure on the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India to expedite the 2G report that created a storm by pegging the loss due to spectrum allocation at Rs.1.76 lakh crore.

Rai said in a statement that nobody had put pressure on his department with regard to the audit of allocation of 2G spectrum.

“The CAG has always taken a stern view of any attempts of pressure or interference in the discharge of his constitutional duties and functions,” said Rai, who heads India’s premier auditing institution.

Rai’s comments come a day after Joshi, as PAC chief, was alleged to have pushed the CAG to speed up finalisation of the 2G report before it was tabled in parliament’s winter session last year.

In an internal note dated July 13, 2010, R.B. Sinha, director general, report central (RC) in the CAG office, had written that he had got a call from Joshi.

The note, addressed to Deputy CAG Rekha Gupta, states that Joshi cited “tremendous pressure on him from parliamentarians and the media about the examination being done by the PAC in respect of ‘the recent developments in the telecom sector including allocation of 2G and 3G spectrum'”.

Rai said the PAC was investigating the 2G case on its own and his team was available to assist the panel in its investigation of telecom policies. “The CAG also made it clear to the PAC that audit findings cannot be shared with anyone, including the PAC, before being tabled in parliament.”

“Our audit was neither to be shared nor to be influenced by the developments in the PAC.

The statement said the CAG had informed the PAC in January 2010 that the audit had been taken up and the report would be ready within six months.

Addressing the media over the issue, Joshi rejected the allegations as “bogus and malafide”. (IANS)


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