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Digvijay says CAG Vinod Rai has a political agenda

New Delhi, Aug 31: Congress leader Digvijay Singh today targeted CAG Vinod Rai suggesting he has a political agenda like one of his controversial predecessors T N Chaturvedi, who had given a report on Bofors
PTI August 31, 2012 19:39 IST
New Delhi, Aug 31: Congress leader Digvijay Singh today targeted CAG Vinod Rai suggesting he has a political agenda like one of his controversial predecessors T N Chaturvedi, who had given a report on Bofors issue and soon after joined the BJP.

Hitting out at the national audit body for computing “imaginative losses” in coal blocks allocation and setting a precedent by going to press, he said,”I am reminded somewhat of the history of Chaturvedi, whenever I view about him (Rai)”.

Singh said that the then Chaturvedi had given his report on Bofors on which the BJP created ruckus and did not allow Parliament to run.

“And after his retirement, he (Chaturvedi) became an MP of BJP. Therafter he became the Governor. This is history,” Singh said.

Turning to Rai, he said with due regards to him, “I want to point out the manner in which CAG's reports are coming out since 2004, which are without facts and which speak of imaginary losses.

“An atmosphere is being created in the whole country that there have been scams of crores of rupees.”

Ridiculing the approach of the CAG, he wanted Rai not to forget that India is a democratic welfare state, where huge sums are given for subsidy in PDS, fertilizers and petroleum products.

“Tomorrowm, the CAG may say that a scam happened as the government gave so much of subsidy in the PDS, fertilizer and petroleum products,” he said.

“These are totally imaginative figures. I have my objection to it. These figures have no solid base. I will request the honourable members of the Public Accounts Committee to dicuss with the CAG and his team on all these issues,” Singh said.

The AICC generally secretary also targeted the BJP for disrupting Parliament over the issue reminding that its own Chief Ministers had opposed the auction route.

Singh said BJP's mindset on this issue becomes evident from the statement of its senior leader L K Advani, who said the UPA government is illegitimate.

“We have the majority. We have proved the majority many times. Still Advani says that the government is illegitimate.  After all, BJP is originally a symbol of RSS and the Sangh does not have faith in democracy,” he said.

The Congress leader said that a number of Chief Ministers of the BJP-ruled states had opposed the auction route when the government was considering it to bring transparency.

“When the amendment was brought into the bill, a delegation of the Opposition went to the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Rajya Sabha Chairman and requested not to initiate a discussion on it.

He also reminded that the UPA government only continued the coal block allocation policy enunciated by the NDA.  “Now the Opposition is not allowing Parliament to run.

This means that we do not have the majority yet we have the power to remove the Prime Minister. How can any Prime Minister elected democratically accept it in any manner,” he said.

Rejecting contentions of loss in coal blocks allocation, Singh said that 80 percent of this coal goes to power houses and power tariff is decided not by the companies but by the regulatory authorities in states while the prices of coal are decided by the government-owned Coal India Limited.

“CAG is not an investigative agency. They are an audit agency. An audit agency can only raise objections to which the state government or the government of India respond,” he said.

Noting that the CAG report goes to the Opposition party leader-headed PAC, which examines the issue after it goes to Parliament, Singh said, “in democracy, it is the people who decide what is wrong or right not the CAG,”.

Singh said that the previous CAGs like V N Kaul and V K Shunglu “never sensationalised an issue” and “never went to the press”.

“It is for the first time that their people, not the CAG but some of the people in the CAG, have gone to the media and said whatever they wanted to say. If they want to create a precedent, they should realize what they are doing,” he said.

The AICC general secretary also accepted BJP leader Sushma Swaraj's challenge for open debate on the issue outside Parliament but wondered why the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha was not ready for a debate on the issue in Parliament.

“Sushma Swaraj gives a statement in Bhopal that she is ready to debate the coal issue with Digvijay Singh. Leader of Opposition does not like debating it in Parliament. I accept the challenge. I am ready for a debate with her on the issue anywhere anytime,” he said.

When pointed out that the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley has addressed a dharna by Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) on coal block allocation scam, Singh said that “instead of holding any demonstration and befooling people, why does the BJP not discuss it in Parliament.

“Why does Sushma Swaraj not tell the people what is her relation with Reddy brothers or what is the relationship between the BJP chief Nitin Gadkari and Ajay Sancheti (businessman turned BJP MP)?” he asked.

The Congress leader scoffed at contentions of the possibility of mid-term polls saying BJP itself is divided on the issue of disrupting Parliament.

Singh, who is also the general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh, parried questions on the remarks regarding Third Front by SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.

“Mulayam Singh Yadav has a right to express his views. He also wants a debate. We also want a debate. BJP had earlier extended him an invitation to attend their meeting, which he refused. Now BJP respected him so much as to invite him for a meeting, why does they not now heed to his demand for a debate,” he said.