Gurudas Dasgupta says he will move a privilege motion against him for making false allegations
The allegations levelled by the former Comptroller and Auditor General official R.P. Singh against Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Murli Manohar Joshi and Comptroller and Auditor General of India Vinod Rai are false, the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on 2G, which called back Mr. Rai for questioning after he made the allegations, has established.
At the last meeting of the JPC on January 22, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Yashwant Sinha called Mr. Singh “a totally unreliable witness.”
CPI leader and JPC member Gurudas Dasgupta told The Hindu he would move a privilege motion against Mr. Singh for making allegations without any evidence. “The CAG report on 2G spectrum allocation was made public in November 2010. Mr. Singh, who has spun a concocted story to the media as late as 2012, with the intent to vilify the PAC chairman and CAG Vinod Rai, is obviously working for some interested parties,” he said.
On Tuesday, armed with documentary evidence obtained through RTI channels, Mr. Dasgupta established in the JPC that Mr. Singh’s allegations in late 2012 — that the CAG interfered with the 2G report and he could not access the CAG to give his dissent to the final report — “was a lie,” as was his claim that quantification of loss was not the job of the auditor.
Answers to RTI queries showed that Mr. Singh met the CAG on May 24, 2010 alone, and met him several times thereafter as well, in the presence of other officials, which belies his claim that the CAG never met him and even refused a meeting. On the contrary, when in office, he never raised the issues that he chose to air on news channels in November last year. When confronted with this information, Mr. Singh changed tack to state that he was scared to talk to the CAG, claiming that since he had written to the Deputy CAG Rekha Gupta and marked a copy to the CAG, he feared this would have annoyed Mr. Rai.
Giving an example of the proper methodology of dissent, Mr. Dasgupta pointed out that when the Centre wrote to the DG Audit Expenditure Shubha Kumar saying he should not have undertaken the Padma Award & Compliance Audit, Mr. Kumar wrote back, saying “my audit was well reasoned.” Asked why he did not resort to this formal process of dissent (which allows a junior officer to protest 3 times on the remarks of a superior officer) in 2010, Mr. Singh said it happened after he had left service.
Mr. Dasgupta further established that Mr. Singh in the case of BSNL’s audit in 2011-12on page 62 had himself noted that potential loss of revenue was Rs. 11.17 crore/circle, and on page 63 stated the potential loss of subsidy as Rs. 60.45 crore. Mr. Singh had no answer when Mr. Dasgupta’s asked if he could himself quantify the loss for BSNL, then why not for 2G?
Mr. Singh chose to support only the Rs. 36,000 crore loss, on account of excess spectrum held by existing operators, in the CAG’s report on 2G. This figure is obtained from 3G/2G parity established in page 188 of the TRAI recommendations of May 2010. Mr. Dasgupta asked why this 2G/3G parity could not be extended to calculate loss on account of 122 2G licences and 35 dual technology licences, to which Mr. Singh replied that government policy cannot be questioned. Though the former CAG official, in his own draft report, does question the policy by stating that a market mechanism is necessary, he continued to maintain in the JPC that the final 2G report was neither his report nor his responsibility, and he was only in the know of things till May 31, 2010.
It turns out that contrary to Mr. Singh’s allegation that he was kept out of the audit process by the CAG after May 2010, he had himself written to the DoT Secretary on September 15, 2010, just 2 months before the final report was released, alleging ineligible service providers getting licences, hoarding of spectrum without payment of revenue share to the national exchequer, the resultant loss and its financial implications.
Mr. Dasgupta used this evidence to establish that Mr. Singh was speaking in different voices on different platforms, when he said he was not involved with the report after May 31, 2010 and that the CAG had changed the report. “Mr. Singh changed/deleted 6 paragraphs and added 1 new paragraph to the report. If he could make changes on a draft report then what is his locus to object to the CAG making changes especially since inputs were received from several other parallel audits of other ministries all relating to the 2G scam,” asked Mr. Dasgupta.
When asked by BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad for proof that Mr. Joshi had tried to influence the report, Mr. Singh denied having alleged this.