The role of the CAG and alleged differences in its 2G audit hit the centrestage of Parliament's public accounts committee (PAC) meeting on Monday.
After a 45-minutes war of words between the Congress and the opposition members it was decided Comptroller & Auditor General (C&AG) Vinod Rai, Deputy CAG Rekha Gupta and RP Singh (former Director General of Audit) will appear before the panel.
Rai has already written a letter to PAC seeking an opportunity to explain how the agency arrived at the presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore in 2G scam.
As soon as the meeting started, Congress' Sanjay Nirupam and Sandeep Dikshit insisted that the day's agenda (to discuss the CWG and Aadarsh Housing scam) should be deferred and the CAG's eroding credibility in preparing the 2G report and other reports should be discussed.
The Congress wants clarifications why the CAG had overruled the initial estimate and pegged a much higher loss. RTI queries recently showed that Singh had initially pegged that loss at R2,645 crore. But finally, the CAG report pushed it up to a presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore. It also sought to know why Rai didn't favour consultations with telecom ministry, as revealed in the media before preparing the final report.
Nirupam maintained that the PAC must first tackle the eroding credibility of the CAG in the context of its 2G audit before getting into its other reports. Sandeep Dikshit and other Congressmen too, questioned how other CAG reports can be trusted when its 2G report has become doubtful.
Interestingly, Rai sat throughout this ruckus but chose not to say anything. Rai and others may appear before the panel later this month.
The opposition, especially BJD's Bhartruhari Mahtab and BJP's Prakash Javadekar, argued that R P Singh had appeared before the committee but never expressed doubts on the 2G report. Mahtab alleged that the UPA members are trying to discredit the CAG and make the PAC dysfunctional.
Finally, veteran Congress leader Saifuddin Soz played the peacemaker and preliminary discussions on the CWG and Aadarsh probe could start. When asked why the event earned so much negative publicity, Sports Secretary Sindhusree Khullar remarked the government is not apt in managing press and couldn't market itself in this event.