The tug-of-war on the 2G spectrum allocation loss figure continued at the joint parliamentary committee (JPC) where the Congress tried to corner Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai while the Opposition parties came to his rescue.
More than a month after Rai had deposed before JPC, members of the Congress Party raised doubts on the findings of the CAG report and asked if all the auditors agreed to any single figure of loss in 2G spectrum allocation. Though the two-hour-long meeting remained inconclusive and Rai has been asked to come again on December 20 to continue with the discussion on how the auditors reached the figure of Rs 1.76 lakh crore, the Congress Members of Parliament (MPs) claimed that CAG was unable to give satisfactory answers to their questions.
Rai had earlier appeared before CAG on November 15 when he tried to demolish the claim of RP Singh, former director general of audit, post and telecommunication, that he was pressurised to sign the crucial report.
Soon after the meeting began, Manish Tewari of Congress led the attack on Rai and questioned if the entire team of auditors agreed to a single figure of loss in the 2G spectrum since there were different figures in the course of preparing the report. To this, Rai replied that all the auditors agreed on the figure of Rs 1.02 lakh crore. He later admitted that RP Singh disagreed with this figure of loss as well.
Tewari continued to ask questions with some help from a couple of members of Left parties who wanted to know how the figure of Rs 1.76 lakh crore was calculated by the auditors. Tewari also wanted to know why the CAG included the amount at which the companies that received 2G licences had sold its share to other companies at exorbitant prices while calculating the loss.
The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) members also questioned why CAG had included offers to companies that were in the race to get 2G licences but were later blacklisted. “Is that the convention of CAG to use wild card offers while calculating the figure of loss in 2G spectrum allocation?” a Congress member in the parliamentary committee asked.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members who were present at the meeting objected to the manner in which Tewari was “cross-questioning” Vinod Rai, and Ravi Shankar Prasad asked the JPC chairman PC Chacko to intervene. Gurudas Dasgupta also asked Chacko that he too wanted time to question Rai on the issue.
“Vinod Rai was asked by PC Chacko if he could come again tomorrow and the CAG agreed,” said a member of the parliamentary committee.