Home India Politics BJP, Left slam government on CAG report

BJP, Left slam government on CAG report


New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Left Friday slammed the government on the leaked Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) report that allegedly reveals that the oil ministry favoured three companies, including Reliance Industries (RIL).

But the Congress defended itself, saying that the CAG’s role is that of an auditor and the report was not on corruption.

Senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi asked the government to come clean on how the audit report by the CAG was leaked to the media even before it has been tabled in parliament.

Minutes after his attack, the Communist Party of India (CPI-M) also took on the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, saying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the cabinet should take full responsibility for the findings on the Krishna-Godavari basin gas contracts with RIL. They asked for a probe.

The CAG report has alleged that between 2004-2006, the oil and petroleum ministry bent the rules to allow Mukesh Ambani’s RIL to benefit at the cost of government’s own financial stake in development of KG Basin, considered India’s largest gas fields.

The oil ministry has said no one should jump to conclusions as the report is yet to be finalised.

Speaking to reporters, Joshi said: “How was the CAG draft report leaked to the media? This is unprecedented. Has the government instituted an inquiry into the matter?…. This is a matter of privilege. The CAG report cannot be published before it is placed in the house.”

Joshi, who is also chairman of parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, said that since the government has not denied the contents of the report, which have been carried in the media, the government should answer the charges.

Demanding the resignation of Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Joshi said he was the finance minister at the time. He also blamed former petroleum minister Murli Deora.

“Co-incidentally, then the finance minister was P. Chidambaram. As home minister he has sent a wrong list of names (of India’s most wanted living in Pakistan). Now questions are being raised about the manner of his election to the Lok Sabha. I strongly demand that he should be removed from the cabinet,” Joshi added.

“The government itself is promoting corruption,” he said. “When he (Chidambaram) was in the finance ministry, a number of scams were reported in the ministry.”

He pointed out that the 2G spectrum scam was also reported when Chidambaram was the finance minister, from May 2004 to November 2008.

The CAG has stated in its report, “The undue benefit granted to the contractor (RIL) is huge, but cannot be quantified.”

Joshi also sought the government’s clarification on why the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) suddenly raised oil prices. “.. under whose pressure did the EGoM take such decisions? What is the justification for the import-export formula that you have devised for oil? What is the rationale behind it?” he said.

CPI-M’s Sitaram Yechury said: “This is yet another example of crony capitalism, as we saw in the scams relating to 2G spectrum, Commonwealth Games and Adarsh Society, where sweetheart deals are given to private companies, allowing them to make windfall profits.”

“Under the principle of collective leadership in government, the entire leadership is culpable. The prime minister and the union cabinet must take full responsibility and order an inquiry into the matter,” he told reporters.

Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh defended the government, saying the “report needs to be considered, deliberated and discussed first by the PAC (Public Accounts Committee).”

“Even the media thinks that the CAG is an investigative report,” he added.