‘Wrong methodology adopted in its report on coal blocks allocation’

The Congress on Monday sharpened its attack on the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India (CAG), whose report on coal blocks allocation, has set the government on a collision course with both the CAG and the Opposition.

The Congress has been maintaining that there is a difference between making personal attacks on the person who holds the office of the CAG and critiquing the reports of the CAG.

Party spokesperson Manish Tiwari compared assailing the CAG’s reports to going in appeal against court judgments. “Nobody has so far said that you cannot take critical look at court judgments.”

“Imaginary losses”

However, on Monday, Digvijay Singh made a direct attack on Vinod Rai, current CAG. Lamenting the “imaginary losses” recorded by the CAG on coal blocks allocation, he said the current episode reminded him of the stance taken by then CAG, T.N. Chaturvedi, during the Bofors scam. Mr. Chaturvedi, who authored the report on the acquisition of Bofors guns, joined the BJP soon after. “He joined the BJP and became an MP and later became a Governor. That is the history we are looking at.”

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal argued that there was no need for the CAG, as a constitutional institution, to be touchy about criticism as the Prime Minister too was a constitutional authority and faced criticism all the time.

He said the CAG had made wrong assumptions and adopted the wrong methodology in calculating losses to the exchequer. Against this backdrop, it was impossible to concede the demand for cancellation of coal blocks, much less to accept that the Prime Minister should resign owning responsibility for the losses.

The Hindu tried to reach Mr. Rai but he was unavailable for comment.

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