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Updated: November 27, 2012 03:09 IST

Ex-CAG official could face breach of privilege

Shalini Singh
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Former CAG official R.P. Singh arrives to appear before the Public Accounts Committee in connection with the 2G spectrum scam at Parliament in New Delhi. File photo
Former CAG official R.P. Singh arrives to appear before the Public Accounts Committee in connection with the 2G spectrum scam at Parliament in New Delhi. File photo

Opposition leaders want R.P. Singh back to explain contradictions

Opposition leaders in the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) want to call back the former CAG official, R.P. Singh, to explain contradictions between his media statements — that CAG estimates of 2G losses are inflated — and his deposition before the JPC last year.

During his deposition, Mr. Singh had said he didn’t disagree with the final CAG report and was under no pressure to sign it. JPC members like the CPI’s Gurudas Dasgupta ask why Mr. Singh didn’t choose to add a dissenting opinion to the report then — the normal practice in government institutions — but is now publicly denouncing the Rs 1.76-lakh crore loss estimate.

Different deposition

Mr. Dasgupta told The Hindu that Mr. Singh’s public disclosures were widely different from his deposition under oath to the JPC on November 14, 2011. “R.P. Singh is playing a fraud. He is subverting the JPC.”

Mr. Singh refused to comment when contacted.

Mr. Singh’s position also contradicts the stand taken by JPC Chairman P.C. Chacko.

Within hours of Mr. Singh making startling disclosures raising questions about the credibility of the CAG’s report, Mr. Chacko told the media on Friday: “As Chairman, I cannot reveal certain things now, but the fact is that Director-General Mr. Singh has made this deposition, and the same statement was made before the JPC committee.”

In his media interviews, Mr. Singh said he had presented his own loss estimate of Rs. 2,645 crore instead of the Rs. 1.76 lakh crore. He further raised questions about Public Accounts Committee chairman Murli Manohar Joshi acting in an improper manner with a view to influencing the CAG, a charge he later retracted on Karan Thapar’s show ‘The Devil’s Advocate.’ “I was misquoted,” he said.

On the PAC-related allegations made by Mr. Singh, Mr. Dasgupta said the PAC in February 2010 had suo motu started an investigation into the alleged malpractices in the spectrum distribution. “When conducting the enquiry, it called officers of the Finance Ministry and also called the CAG to assist them,” he explained, adding that the CAG never shared any report with the PAC since the CAG report was presented to Parliament much later, on November 16, 2010. Mr. Singh has said in the media that these meetings “can influence” the CAG and PAC reports.

Opposition leaders are also concerned that Mr. Singh is alluding to information he did not present before the JPC. “If a person is called to depose before a parliamentary committee and holds back information, which he subsequently discloses long after the JPC has almost completed its work, it amounts to violation of privilege,” Mr. Dasgupta said.

The BJP is also likely to move breach of privilege against Mr. Singh. Responding to the recent Congress disclosures in support of Mr. Singh, BJP member of the JPC Ravi Shankar Prasad said: “We certainly expect that the formal proceedings of the JPC, or any other Parliamentary body, to be articulated properly, especially by those who are associated with it.”

“What R.P. Singh has said, inter alia, suggests that the CAG report is a tutored one. He not only hurls allegations against the CAG but also holds the PAC as a co-conspirator. If he had such vital information, why did he not disclose it in the long session that he had with the JPC?,” Mr. Dasgupta added.

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smeswar - The loss figure put forth by the CAG is not an indictment of
anybody, hence there is no "innocence till proven guilty" principle
here. The principle on which the CAG based its calculations of the 176
lakh crore loss is sound since 2G in 2008 was approximately the same
as 3G today. The CAG has a mandate to maintain govt accounts, examine
govt financial activity and make suggestions to the govt to maximize
revenue inflow, which is what they have done. Which part of this do
you find objectionable?
The govt had every chance to explain the policy in court, that FCFS
benefited the users in the form of lower rates, but the govt failed to
convince the Court that the allocation was bonafide. So now they are
smarting under the loss of face and are treating the CAG, who
constitutionally has status equal to a Supreme Court judge, like a
common criminal taking advantage of the common man's ignorance about
the CAG and the quietly professional personality of Mr Vinod Rai

from:  Aritra Gupta
Posted on: Nov 27, 2012 at 15:25 IST

india is bogged down because of wily,opportunistic,cowardice,greedy
irresponsible not only by politicians but in good measure by TOP officers/IAS/IPS etc.

from:  ramachandrasekaran
Posted on: Nov 27, 2012 at 12:43 IST

Happy to see good work done by the Hindu and Shalini Singh in fact finding about 2G and related stuff. Have heard her on NDTV where she clearly exposed R.P Singh's bluff. Congratulations.

from:  Amit Singh
Posted on: Nov 27, 2012 at 10:07 IST

It is now clear that Mr Singh was playing double game.deposing before
the PAC one way and going public with a diffeent statement.obviously he
has something up his sleeve.may be he has a promise to keep with whoever
are his masters

from:  M.K.B.Nambiar
Posted on: Nov 27, 2012 at 09:56 IST

People like RP Singh if had held vital information against JPC of USA
then he would be sent behind bars for not less than 50 years. Let us see
what's the rule of law for such an idiots in our lawless(for high level
so called VIPs & VVIPs) country.

from:  Shiva
Posted on: Nov 27, 2012 at 09:23 IST

Let this discussion be open. Then only people will realize all your interest in proving
the 1.76 lakh crore loss as a real loss is a big fraud on nation. RP Singh is here is
nothing. What policy was there to estimate the loss based on auction? CAG created a
myth. You people utilized it against UPA govt. by taking and propagating it in the
people's court and created a scene to make them believe that 1.76 lakh crore
corruption done by Raja and Sonia. Now seeing the reality glaring at your lies you
guys started blaming RP Singh. Where is the evidence to prove your 1.76lakh crore
loss? If few people make money by doing corruption in the implementation that is a
different story to deal with. That will happen in any policy implementation process in
any govt. I wish you understand that we all understand your intention in supporting
1.76 lakh crore presumptive loss still!

from:  smeswar
Posted on: Nov 27, 2012 at 08:53 IST

Inconsistencies in his various statements itself tell the tale..... He
can't fool the public. After this episode my confidence in UPA has
further diminished.

from:  Mohit
Posted on: Nov 27, 2012 at 08:33 IST

Again Congress trying to spoil the JPC investigation on the 2G spectrum allocation and instigate Mr.R.P.Singh through the backdoor to help the Congress from wiping its hands clean. There is a gross misconduct on the part of ex-CAG official to disclose the information after a long silence from his first disposition of facts in front of the JPC in 2011. From this even a common man like me can easily understand that corruption at the highest level is very much legalised and the so called Aam Admi slogan party Congress is the custodian of the same.

from:  N.Swaminathan
Posted on: Nov 27, 2012 at 08:19 IST

Is Mr. Singh flip-flopping for political gains from Congress? Congress has been trying hard to cover-up its corruptions. It does by threatening who exposes them, diluting the situation, and posing as someone who fights it. What we see is just the tip of the iceberg. I am eager to see when CAG can start scrutinizing the nuclear deal.

from:  Senthil Natarajan
Posted on: Nov 27, 2012 at 05:20 IST

I listened to the Karan Thapar Interview. Mr. R P Singh's prevarications were
palpably manifest.Mr.Das Gupta is right. Mr.Singh could have given a dissenting
note, get overruled and sign the report thereafter. By countersigning, the CAG takes
the responsibility. By and large, extensive notings and discussion precede the
filtered audit contents for the Report and a single opinion is reached. Dissenting
notes are on record many time. Let me add a disclosure. Audit is never all-
encompassing. Only test audit is done. Many audit observations, which could not
make it to the report are noteworthy. They are referred to the Ministries for
remedial action. The day has come for the CAG to issue Grade I &II Audit reports.

from:  Soundararajan Srinivasa
Posted on: Nov 27, 2012 at 00:31 IST
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