New Delhi: A Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meeting that was expected to discuss differences in the Comptroller and Auditor General of India over the exchequer’s losses from the allocation of second-generation (2G) telecom spectrum had to be called off because of objections raised by members of the parliamentary panel belonging to the ruling party.
Former CAG official R.P. Singh, who headed the 2G spectrum allocation audit, was expected to speak to PAC members about the differences. Mint reported on 6 September that Singh was of the opinion that the 2G loss could not be quantified, citing internal documents.
The objections came after the panel, headed by senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Murli Manohar Joshi, started the meeting on Monday. Congress party members objected to the presence of Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai at the meeting, saying that Singh would not be able to speak freely. They said members would not be able to ask Singh questions while Rai was present. Joshi told members that he would seek legal advice on their objections and revert.
The CAG report, which has been discussed by the PAC, said that the spectrum allocation had cost the exchequer a presumptive loss of Rs65,000 crore-1.76 trillion.
Joshi had previously submitted a report to Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar, to which members of the Congress-led, ruling United Progressive Alliance had objected, leading to it being returned. The Congress party and its allies say PAC should not examine the 2G report as a Joint Parliamentary Committee is also investigating the matter.