NEW DELHI: Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) Vinod Rai, will appear today (Tuesday) before the Joint Parliament Committee (JPC) in the 2G spectrum allocation scam probe. Vinod Rai is expected to explain to the panel how the auditor arrived at a presumptive loss figure of Rs 1.76 lakh crore and to counter the figure floated by his former auditor RP Singh.
Vinod Rai’s explanation will be important in the probe as RP Singh on Monday reportedly stuck to his stand of pegging the presumptive loss at Rs 2,645 crore during his deposition before the parliamentary panel.Interestingly, Rai has written to the JPC requesting that Singh be asked to remain present when he deposes before the Committee on Tuesday.
The lead auditor of the 2G telecom audit on Monday stuck to his stand that the loss due to spectrum allocation was Rs 2,645 crore and he had signed the final report on the alleged scam on the direction of his superiors.
Appearing before the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) going into the 2G issue, RP Singh, the then director general, Audit (Post and Telecommunication), said quantification of loss was not part of the objectives of the CAG audit and the final figure of Rs 1.76 lakh crore was at best a “mathematical guess”.
Singh told the JPC that the Rs 2,645 crore figure, calculated by him, was the actual loss based on non-revision of entry fee for telecom operators and the figure was part of the draft report.
According to JPC chairman PC Chacko, the former CAG official maintained that the loss due to allocation of 2G spectrum could not be calculated as auction was neither recommended by TRAI nor contemplated by the government.
Singh, who superannuated from service on August 31, told the Committee that to show presumptive loss would be akin to introducing “individual judgement” to the audit exercise which was “questionable”.Sources said during the meeting, Jaswant Singh (BJP) asked the former CAG official whether he signed the report and stood by it.
RP Singh replied that he had signed the report but was not responsible for the inputs provided by other auditors who had taken into account views of the Finance Ministry and the Corporate Affairs Ministry.
It is learnt that Yashwant Sinha (BJP) showed the former CAG official communication exchanged between him and finance secretary on the 2G issue.
RP Singh was also questioned by members on the findings of the Field Audit Team (FAT) which had pegged the potential loss on 2G spectrum allocation at Rs 26,685 crore, Chacko said.
Chacko said the FAT had projected the loss of revenue as Rs 26,685 crore on account of entry fee due to non-issue of license and loss of interest.Singh maintained that since there was no conclusive evidence for the loss he had dimissed the figure.
A member of the Committee said when Singh made this observation, Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) retorted that if the CAG official had rights to over-rule his juniors then his superiors too had the authority to set aside his findings.
Singh is also learnt to have maintained that revenue optimisation was not an “audit objective” and it was added as one of the objectives later.
The opposition maintains that it was Singh who had earlier explained to the Public Accounts Committee how the figure of Rs 1.76 lakh crore loss was arrived at by the CAG. These parties have sought to know whether Singh was right in his earlier stand or on his revised position.BJP and other opposition parties are not convinced with Singh’s position on the loss to the exchequer in the 2G spectrum scam.
Singh, who was also summoned by PAC during its last meeting, was prevented from presenting his case when the Congress members demanded that CAG Vinod Rai should recuse himself as the former director general (Audit) may not be able to express himself freely in front of his former boss.