New Delhi: In fresh embarrassment to Congress, especially former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, ex-CAG Vinod Rai has claimed he was pressurised by the UPA regime to drop certain names from audit reports in Coalgate and Commonwealth Games scams, triggering a political row.
Rai claimed yesterday that some UPA coalition functionaries had deputed politicians to get him leave out certain names in this regard.
Congress today questioned the integrity of Rai and accused him of indulging in “senstionalism” while BJP demanded that the identity of leaders who “approached” him be revealed.
In remarks damning the previous dispensation, he has also claimed that UPA functionaries had roped in even his colleagues in the IAS, to which he belonged before his appointment as CAG, to persuade him to leave out names.
Like some of the books that have recently hit the stands including those by the media adviser of the former prime minister Sanjay Baru, former External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh and former Coal Secretary P C Parakh that have been severe on Singh and his government, Rai is penning his views in his forthcoming book “Not Just An Accountant” to be released in October, that will be critical of the UPA regime.
Rai, who had demitted office last year after several run-ins with the UPA government and had estimated a “notional” loss of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore in the 2G spectrum allocation and Rs.1.86 lakh crore in Coal Block allocations, made the comments, which was also severe on Singh, on the sidelines of a book launch event here.
He has said he would provide details of how sheer considerations of survival led Singh to acquiesce to decisions which caused huge loss to the exchequer.
“See the prime minister is the first among equals. He has to take the last call which sometimes he did, sometimes he didn't. Everything cannot be sacrificed only to remain in power. Governance cannot be sacrificed at the altar of compulsion of coalition politics. I have said it in the book,” he said.
Today, Rai refused to meet reporters who reached his residence and declined to elaborate on his comments. But sources close to him said, “Each and every word in the book is factually correct.
The purpose is not to tarnish image of somebody but to help in improving governance and systems in future. The language used in the book is so simple that people from all walks of life including students can understand,” they said.
Slamming Rai, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari reiterated the “standing invite” to “Rai Sahib” to debate at any forum of his choice “sensationalism that formed the staple of his tenure.”
“If at all, he was under any pressure or he was being coerced either obliquely, directly, implicitly that certain people be named and others deleted, was it not incumbent upon him to make it public at that point of time,” he said.
He said Rai was perhaps “saving these little nuggets of sensationalism for what is a post-retirement pension plan these days—that you write and create enough sensationalism around it”.