Vinod Rai welcomes Manmohan Singh's plan to pen memoirs

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Mumbai, Oct 10: Retired CAG Vinod Rai has welcomed former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's decision to write memoirs, saying the nation needs to know what exactly transpired during his tenure and felt that people holding high offices should pen their experiences.

"I think it will be a very good thing because the nation needs to know what exactly transpired," he said during an interaction organised by the Asia Society here last evening. Rai, who has been critical of Singh in his recently released memoir, also said he looks forward to reading replies to some letters sent by him to the former Prime Minister in the book.

"Hopefully, some reply where a draft was prepared but not issued, will be finally made," he said.

"I wrote many letters to Singh, but received no replies. And I have gone ahead to write one more sentence that when he was replying the same day to the letter written by former Telecom Minister A Raja, I think in some ways, even an acknowledgement to my letter would have been very appropriate. But those replies didn't come," Rai rued.

According to a recent report, Singh is currently penning his memoirs, on which he started working in 2008. Rai said he is "happy" that he wrote his experiences as CAG and made a fervent appeal to those occupying high positions to also pen their memoirs.

"People who have occupied positions must speak up and write. They must speak up because they have seen good, bad and ugly things happening. May be at some point of time, whatever may be anybody's compulsions, they were not able to resist that. But, I think time has come," he said.

He also defended controversies surrounding a slew of things, like the CAG's decision to hold press conferences, saying it is an over two-decade-old practice dating back to the Bofors scandal.

Stating that the office of CAG has been able to justify the notional loss figures (like Rs 1.76 trillion for the spectrum scam and Rs 1.84 trillion in the coal block allocation), Rai said the high figures were a "red flag" and ringed "alarm bells".

"It is not about the numbers, but can anyone say that no wrong was done?" he questioned. Rai also said the CAG never leaked reports, adding it was duty-bound to reply to RTI requests seeking draft reports.

PTI

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