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Monday 19 December 2011

2G loss was pegged at Rs 4 lakh crore, I toned it down: CAG Vinod Rai

2G loss was pegged at Rs 4 lakh crore, I toned it down: CAG Vinod Rai
NEW DELHI: A defiant comptroller and auditor general on Tuesday rebutted claims that he had overruled his subordinates who put the loss from the 2G scam at just Rs 2,600 crore to project the figure of Rs 1.76 lakh crore. Vinod Rai emphasized that he had actually toned down an initial estimate that valued the loss to the exchequer at more than Rs 4 lakh crore.

Appearing before the joint parliamentary committee after his former colleague R P Singh told the panel that he did not subscribe to the estimate - one of the three arrived by CAG in its report - of Rs 1,76,000 crore loss, Rai strongly defended his report.

Rai, who took the unusual step of writing to PM Manmohan Singh after the latter criticized CAG for wading into policy issues and addressing press conferences, made it clear that he was not fazed by Congress's charges. He said the auditor faced similar criticism when it highlighted irregularities in the purchase of Bofors guns by a Congress regime or the conduct of Kargil war under the BJP-led NDA government.

Rai's reference to the May 2010 letter undercuts Congress's claim that CAG overruled R P Singh to jack up the 2G scam estimate to Rs 1.76 lakh crore. Rai said different estimates, ranging from Rs 48,000 crore to Rs 4.19 lakh crore, figured in the three-stage audit process CAG used to assess 2G scam loss.

"Several figures of loss ranging from Rs 2,645 crore to Rs 4.19 lakh crore were projected at different stages. Final decision is that of the CAG," Rai asserted.

Playing down criticism coming from the ruling party, Rai said CAG was always attacked when it came out with a hard-hitting report. "In the purchase of Bofors guns, the then CAG T N Chaturvedi and the government had difference of opinion in the year 1989," Rai said. This was repeated when CAG came out with its report on Operation Vijay. "There was major criticism of CAG by the executive. Such was the criticism that the then PAC chairman N D Tiwari had offered to resign on February 20, 2007 if the dignity of the office of the CAG could not be maintained," he pointed out.

"The audit department is obliged to say things which are embarrassing to the government but it is the duty of its officers, on account of their greater loyalty to the country, to act as a check even on the government," Rai told the JPC. He would always tell his officers "not to shrink from truth for fear of offending men in high places".
Thanks & Regards,

Sudhir Srinivasan
B.Arch, MSc.CPM, Dip.ID, Dip.CAD, Dip.PM
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