Authorised by the Delhi Cabinet to address the media on the role of the State government in the Commonwealth Games, Education Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely on Monday said: “There is no indictment of Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit or any of the Ministers in the audit report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.”
Taking on the Opposition parties for demanding the resignation of Ms. Dikshit, he said: “If governments resign over every CAG report, then in every March when these reports come out in the States, the respective governments will fall, since there are almost always objections to some tenders.”
“The CAG is an audit body and its report is for the scrutiny of the Public Accounts Committee. If this report is final, then there would be no need for PAC, which at the moment is headed by Murli Manohar Joshi of the BJP.”
Noting that “paying attention to the constitutional terms,” the Delhi government had taken legal opinion on the CAG report, the Minister claimed that it could not be compared with other reports as the words “corruption” and “scam” were not mentioned anywhere.
As for the decisions on the tender process, the Minister clarified that “there was no role of the political head [Chief Minister]” and all the decisions were collectively taken by the Cabinet, taking into account the technical and financial objections.
“The government has nothing to hide. When asked, we will reply to the PAC about everything,” he said.
On his role in not bringing out the 471 DTC buses on the roads and keeping them in “new and unused” condition for the Games, as pointed out in the CAG report, Mr. Lovely said: “I am proud of that decision. I had requested the manufacturer Tata to delay the supply of these buses. But instead of being delivered a month before the Games, they came a couple of months earlier. We wanted to have them new for the Games or else the CAG would have said that we lowered the prestige of the country by giving old and damaged buses during the Games.
“If another occasion comes for saving the country's pride, we will do it again,” he avowed.