Stung by three audit reports from the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), the Congress and some UPA ministers launched a counter-offensive with minister of state for personnel V Narayanasamy slamming the auditor for not following its mandate.
Pointing out that the reports are yet to be scrutinised by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Narayanasamy said, “I’m not going to say anything on the merit of this… the CAG is not following its mandate, which I wish to bring to notice.”
The CAG’s earlier report on 2G spectrum allocation cited a loss of R1.76 lakh crore and caused huge political embarrassment for the ruling dispensation.
This time, within hours of the tabling of the reports, the Congress hit back at the CAG on its report on coal block allocation.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari took a dig at the CAG, saying it doesn’t understand the basics of developmental economics.
The ruling party was quick to point out that the blocks were not put under the hammer because the then BJP-ruled Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Left-ruled West Bengal governments had opposed any competitive bidding.
The Congress also emphasised that the 57 coal blocks, which came under the CAG scanner, were captive and thereby any assumption on windfall profit for the private companies is unfounded.
“Between 1993 and 2004, the non-Congress governments had allocated 39 coal blocks in the similar way. The present government only followed the laid-down procedure,” Tewari said.
A change in the allotment—to competitive bidding—would have required a change in law, the Congress said, doubting if the opposition would have supported any such bill.