Congress attacks CAG

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New Delhi, Jan 14 (PTI) After holding its fire for aday, Congress today attacked the CAG questioning its standthat MPs cannot comment on its report on the 2G scam andwondered how its findings were leaked even before they weretabled in Parliament.

Endorsing Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal''s criticism ofthe report, it also asked why there was no reaction from theComptroller and Auditor General''s office when the oppositionleaders were commenting on its report.

At her AICC media briefing, Congress spokespersonJayanti Natarajan referred to portions of the CAG''s pressrelease on Wednesday and wondered whether there was any rulingprohibiting MPs from commenting on matters lying before aParliamentary Committee.

Her briefing today was in sharp contrast to anotherspokesperson Abishek Singhvi''s comments yesterday that thecomments of Sibal, CAG and the PAC were already in publicdomain and the party would not not like to queer the pitch.

Natarajan also took exception to the CAG releasecounselling restraint on the part of MPs while commenting onits 2G spectrum report on the ground that it could be"improper" and could amount to contempt of the Parliament..

"We are somewhat surprised and a little distressedbecause this seems to contain a suggestion that MPs do nothave a right to speak on any issues when CAG report is beingexamined by a Parliamentary committtee....it was a very strongsuggestion.

She said that as far they knew there was "no suchrule which prohibited an MP from speaking on an issue which isbeing considered by a committee".

Natarjan said that as an MP she would take a seriousnote of the CAG''s statement as the it concerned her right tospeak and also because the advice comes "from a body, which isnot a part of legislative structure". (More) PTI AMR SPG

The Congress spokesperson also asked why no such reaction came from the auditor when the report was beingreacted upon by everybody including leaders from theopposition parties.

"Whether the suggestion is confined to criticism ofthe report," she asked, adding no no press release was issuedwhen there was a stream of comments from the leaders ofopposition.

Natarajan, however, parried a question about CAG''ssilence when BJP was commenting on the report.

"I am not pointing out any thing....there should beone standard....there can be only one stand and there shouldbe one stand....the suggestion that only a particular aspectwould be improper was very surprising".

Natarajan also sought to know how details of thereport, including the amount of presumptive loss ofRs.1,76,000 crore came into public domain even before thereport was tabled.

"I would like to how it happened and from where ithappened. When MPs are advised about proper conduct, how theseleaks come into public domain before the report is submittedto Parliament", Natarajan said.

The spokesperson also made it clear that the partyendorses Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal''s comments on the CAGslamming its report on the presumptive losses in 2G Spectrumallocation.

"Yes we do support him on the issue" Natarajan saidwhen asked the party supports whatever Sibal said about CAGreport a few days back.

Natarajan today said "it was not an unanimous view"when pointed out that PAC has criticised Sibal''s attack on CAGin a decision taken unanimously.

A senior leader speaking on the condition of anonymitysaid if anybody had to object to MPs speaking on an issueunder consideration of a Parliamentary committee, it shouldhave been PAC or Speaker and not CAG.

"It was sermons from the CAG. We are dismayed by thetone and tenor of the CAG release," the leader said.

The leader also found nothing wrong in Sibal''s attackon the CAG saying "what is wrong in the government puttingacross its views on the CAG report." PTI AMR SPG

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