In one of its sharpest attacks on the CAG, the Congress on Monday held it as much responsible as the BJP for the wasted monsoon session of Parliament, and hinted at a tacit understanding between the national auditor and opposition party.
“Regrettably, the responsibility of disruptions in Parliament lies as much on the CAG as the BJP… In the past 22 months, CAG has been passing presumptive, hypothetical and at times mythical figures in public domain…It has made public discourse toxic and created roadblocks in governance,” party spokesman Manish Tewari said.
Parliament could work only on six out of 19 days in the monsoon session, which ended last Friday due to the BJP's demands for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s resignation over the coal block allocation issue, cancellation of allotments and setting up of an independent inquiry to probe the matter.
Disruptions started after the tabling of a CAG report on August 17 that pointed to windfall gains for private players worth Rs. 1.85 lakh crore in the 142 blocks allocated by the UPA between 2006 and 2009.
Tewari said “history shows the mindset” of the CAG matches certain parties and claimed that for one of its reports, a senior BJP leader had called up a CAG official for a report that was yet to be tabled in Parliament.
“Is the meeting of minds between the CAG and BJP merely coincidental or is there something more to it? Is the CAG misusing its constitutional credibility...If it is so, the question is why?” he asked. Asked if CAG Vinod Rai is following in the footsteps of his predecessor TN Chaturvedi, Tewari remarked: "If history repeats itself once, it is a tragedy. If it repeats twice, it is a farce. I can only say the trajectory of coincidences are uncanny.”
Though the Congress had on several occasions attacked the CAG on exceeding its brief, Friday's attack was one of the most direct one against it.
The party also pointed out to discrepancies in the CAG report on higher education and cited a statement of a former secretary of the atomic energy regulatory board, KS Parthasarthy, in which he had demanded an apology from the auditor for giving wrong figures in its report.
Tewari also slammed the BJP for its “doublespeak” on CAG reports, saying the opposition party was willing to treat as “sacrosanct” the figures when it came to the Centre, but treated them as “notional” when it came to states ruled by it.