Auditor triple whammy hits govt in Parliament
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Three new reports by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India increased the heat on the embattled government on Friday. The statutory auditor's report on coal block allocations, implementation of public-private partnership at the Delhi International Airport and the award of ultra mega power projects (UMPP), tabled in Parliament, accused the government of indulging in favouritism, irregularities in bidding processes, and causing massive losses to the exchequer.
The BJP demanded a response from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to charges pertaining to the allocation of coal blocks between 2004 and 2006, when he was in charge of the coal ministry.
"This is not just a scam, it's a case of murder and loot. We would like an answer from the prime minister on charges made by the CAG," BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said minutes after the report was tabled in the Rajya Sabha.
In its defence, the government stressed that the figures in the reports were not final, and accused the auditor of exceeding its brief. "According to me, the CAG is not following its mandate, which... I wish to bring to notice," Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanasamy told reporters in Delhi.
Narayanasamy insisted that the CAG's reports were incomplete as they were yet to be examined by Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
"They (CAG reports) have to be tested before Parliament. It comes before the PAC. The PAC is like a mini Parliament. It will consider the views of political party members. Then only it will become final. Therefore, draft report will not become final," he said.
In its report on coal block allocations, the CAG said that a gain of Rs 1.86 lakh crore was likely to accrue to private companies including Tata Steel, Essar Power, JSPL, Hindalco and Adani Power from allocation of 57 coal blocks without competitive bidding.
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