Economy Dec 12, 2012
New Delhi: The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on 2G telecom spectrum is set to debate afresh the Rs 1.76 lakh crore presumptive loss figure of CAG as the panel today decided to summon former CAG official RP Singh on his charge that he was forced to sign the controversial report on the spectrum allocation scam.
"I agreed to call R P Singh...he would be asked to appear before JPC," panel chief P C Chacko said here. He said Singh would be called after 19 December.
He is being summoned for the second time after BJP members had recently demanded calling of the former Director General Audit (Post and Telecommunication) in CAG.
"Yashwant Sinha (BJP) was of the view that the statements of Singh before the media recently and his deposition before the Joint Parliamentary Committee are contradictory and that some of the points he raised before the media were not told to the Committee," Chacko said.
Chacko said he himself and some other members were of the opinion that there was not much of contradiction. But "It is necessary to call as opinions differ," he said.
He said that during today's meeting, he proposed circulating the verbatim records of Singh's deposition on14 November, 2011 before the Committee could take a decision.
According to a BJP member of the committee, the decision to summon Singh for a second time was not without drama. He claimed Congress members were initially opposed to calling the former CAG official saying JPC should instead concentrate on fresh witnesses.
"Both Sinha and Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) argued that since there were contradictions in his stand, he should be called...Sinha even threatened to move the Privileges Committee (of Lok Sabha) against Singh for giving contradictory statements and not disclosing all the points to JPC," a member said after the meeting.
In his recent letter to Chacko, Sinha had said members wanted to know who had pressurised Singh to sign the report which had put the presumptive loss to Rs 1.76 lakh crore.
Singh had recently claimed his superiors gave him a "written order" following which he signed on the final report giving a presumptive loss figure of Rs 1.76 lakh crore.
Singh, who had headed the CAG team that audited the 2G spectrum allocation, maintained he had never put the figure of Rs 1.76 lakh crore in his draft report.
During his November, 2011 deposition before JPC, Singh had said the loss due to spectrum allocation was Rs 2,645 crore and he had signed the final report on the alleged scam on the direction of his superiors.
He had said quantification of loss was not part of the objectives of the CAG audit and the final figure of Rs.1.76 lakh crore was at best a "mathematical guess".
Singh had told JPC that the Rs 2,645 crore figure, calculated by him, was the actual loss based on non-revision of entry fee for telecom operators and the figure was part of the draft report.
Singh, who had superannuated from service on 31 August last year, had told the Committee that to show presumptive loss would be akin to introducing "individual judgement" to the audit exercise, which was "questionable".
Meanwhile, JPC members today decided to seek a fresh extension as it is yet to examine several key witnesses before finalising the draft report.
Chacko said the fourth extension would be sought till the end of the budget session of Parliament next year. "The term is coming to an end on 20 December...extension would mean five more months' time till May next year," he said.
The panel would meet again on 19 December to hear the views of an association of cellular operators.
More From R Jagannathan.