Joining the controversy over the CAG report on 2G spectrum allocation, retired senior officers of the public auditor have expressed their keenness to debate the issue with government functionary on any platform.
"If the Minister and his colleagues having been outdone on television debates and still desire another public debate, we -- retired senior officers -- are willing for any debate on any platform of their choice. After all, their star performer is also a retired Indian Audit & Accounts Service officer," B S Gill, former deputy Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on behalf of senior retired officials, said in a statement.
The statement comes in response to a call by Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari who sought an open debate on the 2G spectrum report with Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai.
A new twist to the controversy had been added earlier by retired CAG Director General R P Singh who had distanced himself from the report which had said that government suffered a presumptive loss of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore on account of allocation of 2G spectrum without auction.
The CAG, the statement said, is too high and dignified a Constitutional authority to engage in any unseemly public debate.
"It is for good reasons that the founding fathers of our Constitution have compared his (CAG) position to that of a Supreme Court judge. Even when Ministers preferring to ignore Constitutional decorum, make such unreasonable statements, we would never advise the CAG to be a party to such an extraordinary impropriety," Gill said.
Noting that government finding CAG reports uncomfortable was not a new phenomenon, he said, "never has there been such a strident attack in the media against the institution of the CAG. To prop up a retired officer and have him make disparaging remarks against the professional practices of the department is a new low."