The Comptroller and Auditor-General of India (CAG) on Monday asserted that it stood by its performance audit report on “issues of licences and allocation of 2G spectrum” that indicted the former Communications Minister, A. Raja, for not following rules and procedures in allocating spectrum and favouring companies that led to a “presumptive loss” as high as Rs.1.76-lakh crore to the exchequer.
“The CAG stands by its report on 2G spectrum 100 per cent,” the CAG spokesperson told journalists here.
The CAG's stance is in sharp contrast to Communications and IT Minister Kapil Sibal last week's media briefing when he trashed the audit report, saying that the government auditor's projection of losses was “utterly erroneous.” Mr. Sibal even questioned the methodology adopted by the CAG.
The spokesperson declined to comment on Mr. Sibal's observations about the CAG report, referring to the rules in Parliamentary procedures and practices that prohibit any official, MP or any member of the Public Accounts Committee from commenting on any subject which is under the PAC's consideration. The CAG tabled the report in Parliament in November 16, 2010, in which it pegged the loss to the exchequer at between Rs.57,000 crore and Rs.1.76-lakh crore. The 77-page CAG report said that due diligence was not followed and even the recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on spectrum pricing were “not followed in spirit.”
Meanwhile, in a TV interview, Mr. Sibal said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not give any direction on the pricing of spectrum in 2007. He also said prima facie it was evident that procedure to allocate spectrum lacked transparency. He asserted that there was “no loss at all” to the exchequer due to allocation of licences and 2G spectrum in 2008.