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Updated: May 31, 2011 02:43 IST

CAG: estimate of spectrum loss based on sound principles

Special Correspondent
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Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai appeared before the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Monday to explain how the CAG quantified the losses in the 2G spectrum allocation. File photo
The Hindu Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai appeared before the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Monday to explain how the CAG quantified the losses in the 2G spectrum allocation. File photo

Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) Vinod Rai on Monday asserted that the presumptive loss of Rs. 1.76 lakh core arrived at by the organisation vis-?-vis the 2G spectrum allocation was based on sound principles and was within its mandate.

He was responding to specific questions by some members of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probing the 2G spectrum scam whether the CAG had exceeded its brief by going into a ‘policy' issue.

The members contended that the loss projected by the CAG was entirely notional as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had taken a policy decision that spectrum 800 to 1800 MHz would not be auctioned. The CAG was asked whether his institution had factored in the ‘policy decision' while arriving at the presumptive loss.

Another section of the JPC members contested the view that the functioning of the CAG was limited to audit and argued that it had the mandate to probe the implementation of the policy.

“The issue is not related to policy. Here it is the faulty implementation of the policy that led to the loss to the exchequer. To maintain that the CAG has no jurisdiction over an issue arising out of a policy matter is erroneous,” a JPC member told The Hindu.

The CAG, in a report to Parliament last year, pegged the presumptive loss to the exchequer on 2G spectrum allocation at Rs. 1.76 lakh crore. The findings of the report and the furore in Parliament led to the resignation of the then Telecom Minister, A. Raja.

It is not the first time that the question whether the CAG could look into a policy issue has arisen.

The issue was hotly debated in the Public Affairs Committee headed by Murli Manohar Joshi and he had ruled that the CAG was duty-bound to probe all relevant issues that had a bearing on revenue.

The style of working of the CAG is itself self explanatory to ensure that the presumptive loss to the tune of Rs 1.76 lakh crore arrived at in 2G scam cannot be questioned. Whatever the draft report (word for word) submitted to the office of the CAG for finalization is necessarily supported with valid key documents and of course on the basis of sound accounting system filtered at various levels.

from:  jitendra kumar
Posted on: May 31, 2011 at 14:54 IST
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