Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Murli Manohar Joshi says he spoke to CAG official in Hindi, and what the official wrote in English was his own version

A day after the letter written by Comptroller and Suditor General director-genral R.B.Sinha's letter to his superior Rekha Gupta saying that there Public Accounts Committee chairman Murli Manohar Joshi rang up and asked about the report on 2G spectrum allocation issue was leaked to the media, Joshi said that the note did not reflect accurately what he spoke to Sinha over the phone.

The senior BJP leader told the media at his home on Raisina Road that all that he wanted to know was about the status of the report and that he did not either pry into the details nor did he pressurise for its early completion. Joshi said that this was done in July, 2010 because in January 2010 the Comptroller and Auditor General told the PAC that the CAG report on the 2G spectrum issue would be ready in six months' time. It was to follow up on that assurance -- which was not noted in the PAC minutes -- that he rang up the official, and this again was not part of official record. "I do not write notes as does Sinha," he said. What he meant was that he was no bureaucrat and that as a political leader he is more used to oral communication.

He refuted that his telephone call was meant in any way to pressurise the CSG to speed up the report on the 2G spectrum issue, and dismissed the criticism as harmful to the Constitution and democracy because the critics were casting aspersions on the CAG and the PAC.

He admitted that the procedure for a CAG report to reach the PAC was that the CAG sends the report to the finance ministry, which sends it to the President office, and when it is returned the government places it on the Table of the House. It is after this that the report reaches the PAC.

Joshi also explained that the reason the PAC asked the CAG about the report on the 2G issue because the issue was taken up by the PAC suo moto because of the detailed stories done about it in the media. The CAG told the PAC that the finance ministry had informed that the 2G related papers were with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which was probing the case.

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