CAG Vinod Rai on Wednesday rejected reports that there was pressure from Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee Chairman Murli Manohar Joshi to expedite audit work of 2G spectrum allocation and said no findings were ever shared with the PAC.
“There was no pressure from any quarter on this department with regard to the audit of the allocation of 2G spectrum.
“CAG has always taken a very stern view of any attempts of pressure or interference in the discharge of its constitutional duties and functions,” an official release from the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India said.
The release comes in the wake of a fresh controversy that broke out with the surfacing of a letter from CAG official R.B. Sinha to Deputy CAG Rekha Gupta on July 13 last year which suggested that Mr. Joshi had called up a CAG official to press for expediting auditing work into spectrum allocation.
As per the letter, Mr. Joshi told him that “there was tremendous pressure on him from Parliamentarians, media etc. about the examination being done by the PAC in respect of ‘recent development in Telecom sector, including allocation of 2G and 3G spectrum and that if the probe is further delayed, the Executive would get the time to cover up the issue”.
The release said that initially in 2008 the audit process was slow because the CAG could not obtain files from the Department of Telecom as the latter had informed that the files were with the Central Bureau of Investigation.
However, the CAG said later, in late 2009, that efforts were made to obtain the file from the CBI and audit was taken up with reference to the files being made available, it said.
It said the CAG has informed the PAC in January 2010 that the audit had been taken up and the report would be ready within six months.
“This department, as per the practice, was present to assist the PAC whenever they met and all assistance required was made available... CAG, however, issued orders that these meetings were very distinct from our audit and that our audit was neither to be shared nor to be influenced by the developments in the PAC.
“CAG also made it clear to PAC that audit findings cannot be shared with anyone including PAC before being tabled in Parliament,” it said.
When asked about the development, Mr. Rai had, however, rejected the talk of any attempt to influence the government auditor’s work.