Responding to Congress member's plea, Joshi summons them

The controversy over the Comptroller and Auditor-General's projection of a presumptive loss of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore in the 2G spectrum and licence allotment in 2008 refuses to die down.

Responding to Congress member Sanjay Nirupam's plea, Public Accounts Committee Chairman Murli Manohar Joshi on Monday agreed to call both CAG chief Vinod Rai, and R.P. Singh, former Director-General of Audit (Post and Telecommunications) in the Auditor's Office, to appear before the panel and explain how they had calculated their differing loss to the exchequer.

In his internal communication, Mr. Singh, who retired on August 31, pegged the loss at Rs. 2,645 crore.

The discrepancy dominated the committee proceedings. The CAG chief, who was present, told Dr. Joshi that he would present his case as and when the PAC took up the matter.

This is not the first time questions have been raised about the figure of presumptive loss arrived at by the CAG.

The issue figured also at the last JPC meeting, which decided to ask both the CAG and the former official to explain the basis on which they had arrived at the figures.

Mr. Nirupam, in a letter to Dr. Joshi on October 7, referred to media reports on the differences within the CAG office on the 2G loss and demanded that the officials appear before the PAC. Their explanation would enable the members to “comprehend” the matter and decide the future course of action, he argued.

On Monday, there were exchanges between some members and Mr. Nirupam when he sought to attribute motives to the CAG's decision to overrule the objections raised by a senior official (Mr. Singh) on the estimated loss.

BJP member Prakash Javdekar said the senior official in the CAG (Mr. Rai) had already appeared before the committee and explained his position. Some of the other members felt that it would not be proper to cast aspersions on the motives of a constitutional authority, and the best course of action would be to seek an explanation.

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