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Joshi joins the chorus of voices against Sibal's CAG remarks

PTI  Guwahati, January 08, 2011
First Published: 14:56 IST(8/1/2011) | Last Updated: 15:02 IST(8/1/2011)

Senior BJP leader and PAC Chairman, Murli Manohar Joshi on Saturday criticised Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal for debunking CAG estimates of losses of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore on account of 2G spectrum allocation, saying it was "improper" and demonstrated his "very casual" approach.

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Joshi said Telecom Secretary, R Chandrashekhar had appeared before the PAC but never questioned the CAG's projection of presumptive losses. "In my opinion, it is highly improper. The CAG has never said that it is the exact amount. Mr Sibal should have read the report carefully," Joshi said here while reacting to the Telecom Minister's contention that the presumptive losses projected by the CAG was "erroneous".

Joshi noted that the CAG has always maintained that the loss figures were presumptive and never said the figure of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore was final. The CAG had given three limits of the presumptive loss to the exchequer in its report and Sibal's attack on it showed that "he has been very casual and ill beholds of the minister to talk ill of the CAG," the PAC Chairman said.

Joshi, who is in Guwahati attending the BJP's National Executive meet said it was not proper for the Minister to say such things when the PAC inquiry into the report is underway and "Whatever he wants to say, his Secretary can come and say (before PAC)."

Joshi said Sibal's party, Congress, or its representatives could have also come and presented their views before the PAC.

Sibal had on Friday rejected CAG estimates of losses of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore on account of allocation of 2G spectrum to telecom operators saying it "had no basis and was utterly erroneous". The CAG in its 77 page report, tabled in Parliament in November last year, had said that due diligence was not followed and even the recommendations of the telecom regulator, TRAI, were "not followed in spirit".

The report said the "presumptive" loss caused to the exchequer through spectrum allocation to 122 licensees and 35 dual technology licences in 2007-08 was Rs. 1,76,645 crore. It arrived at the figure on the basis of 3G auction held earlier this year in which the government mopped up over Rs. 67,000 crore.

The 2G scam has become a major political issue with the Opposition demanding a Joint Parliament Committee to probe the issue. The demand, however, was rejected by the government leading to a washout of almost the entire Winter Session of the Parliament.


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