The war of words between the Congress-led UPA and the CAG reached a flashpoint on Saturday with some MPs of the ruling alliance indicating they were examining the possibility of moving a privilege motion against the country’s apex auditor.
Though the Congress spokespersons and the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) were engaged in a public spat since almost a week, initiated by the telecom minister Kapil Sibal, but a statement issued by the CAG on Wednesday citing a parliamentary rule to advise restraint to the MPs against speaking on its report on the 2G spectrum scam has angered some of the UPA MPs.
Highly placed sources in the UPA hinted that the CAG appeared to have committed an error by citing a non-existant rule from the manual of parliamentary procedure in its bid to caution the MPs against engaging in public criticism of its report.
“When any matter is under consideration of a parliamentary committee and it is holding its sittings for that purpose, no persons, including an MP should make or publish a statement or comment about that matter….It is in obedience to this Rule (para 1.12 of the Rules of Parliamentary Procedure) the CAG did not make any comment on media reports,” the CAG statement had said on Wednesday.
In its response, Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan had stated on Friday that she did not come across any such rule either in the manual or in the rule books for the functioning of parliamentary committees .
Going a step further, some of the MPs belonging to the UPA made it clear that the CAG’s statement amounted to misinformation and had lowered the dignity of the MPs.
“The CAG appeared to have erred by not carrying out due diligence before going public against the MPs on a wrong fact and this amounts to breach of privilege,” said a source.
The move is aimed at blunting the opposition attack and pushing an aggressive CAG on the backfoot. The opposition had hinted last week that it might move a privilege motion against Sibal for his public criticism of the CAG report. Armed with the latest weapon in the form of a factual error by the CAG, the ruling alliance now hopes to turn the tables on the apex auditor as well as the opposition now.