In a major embarrassment for the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), public accounts committee (PAC) chairman Murli Manohar Joshi has written a letter asking Congress Party members to apologise to Vinod Rai, comptroller and auditor general (CAG) for making allegations against a constitutional authority.
The tussle between Congress party members and Vinod Rai started after Sanjay Nirupam wrote a letter to Joshi asking him to “summon” CAG before the parliamentary committee and question him because there was dispute within CAG on the estimated loss in the 2G spectrum allocation, whether it was not Rs 1.76 lakh crore but Rs 2,645 crore according to RP Singh, the former director general post and telegraph.
Taking a stern step against Congress members, Joshi indicated that they could take steps to impeach CAG but they cannot make allegations against a constitutional authority.
As a result of the October 10 letter by Nirupam, RP Singh was called by PAC as witness but the Congress Party members didn’t allow him to speak and wanted Vinod Rai to leave the room as Singh was expected to take a stand against the CAG.
“CAG is a constitutional authority and he sits next to the PAC chairman in every meeting. Congress party members should know that CAG cannot be summoned in PAC. If members have grounds to believe that CAG has exceeded its jurisdiction and its findings are not based on facts, they are at liberty to seek remedy under the Rules of Procedure and the procedure prescribed for the purpose,” said a senior PAC member. Joshi has sent the letter on November 22.
PAC members further elaborated that leaders of the Congress party would have to orally apologise and there was no need for a written apology to CAG.
Soon after heated arguments between Congress and Opposition members erupted at the PAC, Joshi had decided to consult legal and constitutional experts on the issue.