Facing Opposition heat over the CAG report on alleged irregularities in the Commonwealth Games, Congress on Monday launched a frontal attacked on the auditor, raising questions over its mandate to comment on government’s appointment process and policy issues.
The party alleged that CAG has suo motu decided to extend its jurisdiction.
AICC spokesman Manish Tewari said, “Does CAG have the remit to comment on an appointment process as also the policy choices which a government makes or may not make”?
“Even when it chooses to comment on the appointment process in the context of the Games it errs,” he added.
Making a strong comment on the functioning of CAG, he said it could be best termed as “pips, leaks and squeaks”.
The party has been on the back foot since the Opposition led by BJP has demanded sacking of Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit and sought answers regarding the role of the Prime Minister’s Office in the appointment of Suresh Kalmadi as chief of Games Organising Committee, citing the indictment in the CAG report.
Tewari blamed CAG for ignoring three very crucial dates in its report. These dates were September 11, 2003, when the host city contract for the CWG was approved by the cabinet; November 13, 2003, when the host city contract was signed; and November 1, 2004, when the IOA general assembly, which consisted of many eminences of the NDA, decided to elect Kalmadi as the OC chief.
“Were these omissions intentional? Was it a case of oversight? Or CAG chose to overlook these dates – two of which took place during NDA time?” Tewari asked.
Strongly defending Dikshit, he said, “There is not even whisper of an insinuation on the issue of probity of the chief minister. If there is any alleged financial loss, then the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) needs to look into it.”
Attacking the opposition for dragging the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) into the controversy on the appointment of Kalmadi as the OC chief, he blamed the NDA regime for the mess. “PMO has no role in the appointment of Kalmadi as chairman of OC, which was a ‘fait accompli’ due to documents signed by NDA government,” he said.
To blunt the opposition’s barb, the party argued there cannot be different standards on CAG reports — one for BJP-led or BSP-led governments and the other for Congress governments.
Tewari cited CAG’s indictment of the BJP-led government in Uttarakhand for causing a loss of Rs 44 crore in the organization of the Maha Kumbh, the Gujarat government for corruption to the tune of Rs 500 crore in Sujalam Sufalam scheme and the BSP government in UP for cost over-runs, losses and wasteful expenditure running into Rs 1,998 crore. TOI