As the 2G spectrum auction yielded a measly sum of Rs9,407 crore, as compared to the loss figure of Rs1.76 lakh crore projected by the CAG, the government and the Congress got an opportunity to hit back at the national auditor.
“Will the CAG Vinod Rai now reconsider his estimate of the loss,” said Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh.
Information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari went a step further and asked the main opposition BJP to apologize to the nation for making such a big issue of the CAG’s estimated loss figure.
Both Singh and Tewari have been long-time critics of the CAG and have been finding faults with the working of the national auditor. Singh has often accused the CAG of leaking reports, and Tewari has been engaged in a public spat with Rai following the national auditor’s comment that the UPA has been brazen in its decision-making.
“The entire campaign against the UPA-2 that it is a corrupt regime was built on this hypothesis projected by the CAG, that if the auction route had been followed for allocation of the 2G spectrum then the national exchequer would have gained Rs1.76 lakh crore. Now we know the reality, and the hollowness of the CAG’s claims has been exposed,” said another Congress general secretary.
He observed that the party does not want to rub this point in lest it be accused of attacking a constitutional institution.
“Whenever we say anything that is critical of the CAG, we are accused of damaging an institution. But then look at the damage he has caused to the nation’s image and economy by projecting such an imaginary figure,” he added.
He pointed out that at no stage did the government ever hope to collect Rs1.76 crore by way of the auction of the 2G spectrum.
“The government’s most optimistic estimate was Rs40,000 crore, and even that has not been supported by the market,” he added.