CAG asks DoT to amend telecom licences for audit

CAG asks DoT to amend telecom licences for audit

New Delhi,: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has asked the telecom ministry to amend mobile service licence agreements to enable audit of account books of private telecom firms, who have so far resisted the exercise.

“The Director General Audit Post and Telegraph had suggested that since the private service providers are resisting to submit their books of accounts for CAG audit, the licence agreement between Department of Telecom (DoT) and the service providers may be amended in conformity with Trai rules, enabling CAG to audit private service providers in clear and plain manner," minister for state for communications and information technology Sachin Pilot said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

He said the Director General Audit Post and Telegraph has indicated that amendment of the licences was also necessary in view of the impending roll-out of 3-G services by operators, which will mandate payment of additional spectrum charges.

The private service providers have railed against the prospect of the CAG looking into their books of account and have refused to give complete information.

Asked whether the CAG has the power to audit the accounts of private service providers, Pilot said the matter is sub-judice and any change in the agreement may be considered only after the issue is finally adjudicated upon.

On the issue of whether the CAG has powers to challenge or amend policy decisions of the government, Pilot cited the opinion of the Ministry of Law and Justice, which had said the CAG has no duty or power to challenge policy decisions taken by the government.

The opinion of the Ministry of Law and Justice has been conveyed to the Director General Audit, Post and Telegraph, he added.