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Government hits back at CAG for comments

Posted on Feb 08, 07:33PM | IANS

New Delhi, Feb 8 : After Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai said at Harvard University that the auditor has been advised not to exceed its mandate, the central government hit back at him Friday.

"It is most unfortunate that the CAG, rather than validating the integrity of his numbers, chooses to criticise the government on foreign soil and at a foreign forum," Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said.

Rai, in a speech on 'Social Obligation of Public Auditors' at Harvard Kennedy School in the United States, Thursday said the official auditor was advised by "the highest in the land, not to exceed our mandate which they believe to be mere accountants and to conduct mechanical audit of government's expenditure".

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh also attacked Rai, saying: "All have their defined roles. He is an accountant. What does he want to be if he does not want to be an accountant -- the prime minister?"

Rai, in his speech, said the CAG was "introspecting" if its constitutionally mandated responsibility ended with placing reports in parliament or was it in any way "beyond this mechanical function that we perform?"

"We may not be able to wipe out corruption, but endeavour to uncover instances of crony capitalism. Government should be seen to support enterprise per se and not particular entrepreneurs," he said.