Congress questions PM’s silence over CAG reports that flag irregularities

Scams should be probed and accountability fixed, says Supriya Shrinate

August 16, 2023 10:38 pm | Updated 10:39 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate addresses a press conference at the party office, in New Delhi, on August 16, 2023.

Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate addresses a press conference at the party office, in New Delhi, on August 16, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi targeted Opposition parties over corruption in his Independence Day speech, the Congress on Wednesday cited Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports on various irregularities to question Mr. Modi’s silence on the CAG findings.

At a press conference at the party headquarters, Supriya Shrinate, Congress chairperson for social media and digital platforms, listed seven instances in which the CAG had pointed out cost escalation of public projects and waste of public money. “I feel these scams should be probed and accountability should be fixed. We feel that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is clearly responsible for these scams and his accountability should be fixed,” Ms. Shrinate said. In the Bharatmala project, the umbrella project for building national highways, the Congress spokesperson said the cost was escalated, the tendering process was flawed and safety consultants were not appointed.

In the case of Dwarka Expressway in the Delhi-Gurugram border, the construction cost went up from around ₹18 crore per kilometre to ₹250 crore per kilometre, to construct two kilometres of the expressway, she said.

She said that after a random audit of five toll plazas, the CAG had found that the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had erroneously collected ₹132 crore from road users due to non-implementation of revised fee. “This is when only five toll plazas were audited. Imagine if every toll plaza in this country is audited, what would the tune of this scam be?” she asked.

Referring to the audit of the flagship scheme of Ayushman Bharat, the Congress spokesperson 7.5 lakh beneficiaries of the scheme were registered with a single mobile phone number and insurance claims for fresh treatment were paid in the names of 88,670 dead people.

Ms. Shrinate also cited CAG reports on flawed engine design that cost ₹159 crore in losses to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, irregularities in the Ayodhya Development project and diversion of pension funds under the Rural Development Ministry to put up hoardings for the Swachh Bharat Mission.

“...The reality is that today the media is quiet. There is not one, not two, but seven CAG scams that have been unearthed and the Prime Minister stays silent,” Ms. Shrinate said.

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