Govt targets CAG after 2G auction flop
The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government on Thursday appeared to target the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), after this week's 2G spectrum auction fetched less than one-fourth of the target revenue.
Claiming that the national exchequer had suffered a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore due to the 2008 government allocation process, the CAG had sparked a probe into the allegedly massive corruption scandal masterminded by former telecoms minister A Raja.
However the figure, based on the 2010 3G spectrum auction had been disputed by several corners, including government ministers who trashed the figures despite persistent attacks by the opposition on the matter.
Following a landmark Supreme Court judgement earlier this year that quashed 122 licenses issued under the 2008 sale, the government was asked to auction the airwaves again.
However, the Indian government fetched just Rs 9,407 crore, a fraction of the Rs 40,000 crore it had hoped, as the auction for the second-generation GSM spectrum ended on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters in Delhi, Information and Broadcasting Minister and Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari on Thursday lashed out at the CAG, as he said, "Mr CA and G where is the 1.76,000 crore loss?"
"The opposition made this its holy grail for the last two years...it should apologize now," he said.
The government also demanded a comprehensive overhaul of how the CAG calculates presumptive loss figures when a resource is not auctioned off, but sold in any other manner.
Responding to the government's taunt, the main oppositon Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said that government was looking for opportunity to target the CAG.
"We will not allow this at all," party spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.