In his statement made to Parliament on the coal blocks allocation on Monday, Prime Minister Manmohan dealt with the Comptroller and Auditor-General’s implicit suggestion that the government should have circumvented the legislative process through administrative instructions, despite the objections of the State governments to switching over to competitive bidding. He said such a decision, if implemented, would have been “undemocratic and contrary to the spirit … of our federal polity.” The facts, he said, spoke for themselves and “show that the CAG’s findings are flawed on multiple counts.”

The CAG’s observations would be challenged when the matter came up before the Public Accounts Committee, he said.

Senior officials were keen on pointing out that “no motives” were being attached to the CAG’s report and said the CAG might have made a mistake in calculations. They said the idea of moving a confidence vote was discussed in the Congress Parliamentary Party, as also at the UPA coordination committee meeting last week.

They said the government was prepared for washout of the monsoon session as the Opposition, mainly the BJP, was not allowing Parliament to function. Another way out for the government, the officials said, was to do things administratively, wherein there was no need to come to Parliament for approval. There were doubts about the CAG’s report, and the government would seek to clear them at the right forum like the Public Accounts Committee.

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