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Govt may consider turning 'impatient' CAG into a multi-member body

CNN-IBN
Nov 11, 2012 at 03:03pm IST

New Delhi: Facing a political storm following CAG reports on alleged scams, the government says it is actively considering a proposal to make the official auditor a multi-member body. Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office V Narayanasamy says Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has become "more impatient" and he wants that all constitutional bodies to work within their parameters. "It (making CAG a multi-member body) is under active consideration. The government is actively considering it," he said.

Narayanasamy was replying to a question about a suggestion by former Comptroller and Auditor General VK Shunglu that the post of CAG be made a multi-member body. Shunglu suggested that "a three-member body would obtain greater transparency in its operation. One member should possess professional accounting qualifications, Chartered Accountant or its equivalent.

"This should not seem to exclude an Indian Audits and Accounts Service officer from the triumvirate, who has wide exposure to finance, audit and accounts and best international practices in these areas," Shunglu had said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Apparently referring to comments made by incumbent CAG Vinod Rai on various occasions, he said, "It is unfortunate (that) the constitutional body in this country is commenting on the government taking some decisions.

"Of late I have found, CAG is making remarks which are unwarranted. According to me, it is unwarranted and unnecessary. I think, nowadays he (Rai) has become more impatient. That is what I feel from my side. By saying this I am not criticising. I am telling that everybody in the government has to function within the parameters given to them," Narayanasamy said.

The minister said the mandate of the CAG is to consider whether the expenditures incurred by the various agencies of the government of India are done properly. "In my opinion, the CAG is going beyond its mandate. It is my personal view. Not an official view. Every constitutional body, whether the CAG, CVC or the EC or even for the ministers, we have to work within the framework of the Constitution, under the rules framed by the government of India," Narayanasamy, who represents Puducherry constituency in Lok Sabha, said.

He said my request to the CAG is that he should work within its parameters, within the constitutional framework, the duties which have been assigned to him otherwise there would be great injustice.

When asked about the CAG reports on 2G spectrum and coal blocks allocations claiming irregularities, Narayanasamy said, "Whether there are irregularities or there is any corruption that has to be looked into by the system given-- that is the Parliament.

"CAG report is a draft report. It is submitted before the Hon'ble Speaker of Lok Sabha. The Speaker of the Lok Sabha will forward it to the Public Accounts Committee. The PAC will go into the observations made by the CAG and they have to give their findings. Simply because the CAG says it, it is not final".

The minister said the CAG report has to be tested by PAC. "They are the body of the Parliament. They will give their report and then only the government can act. The government will not act only on the CAG report. The PAC will examine the report of the CAG.

"There are thousands of reports submitted by the CAG. They have indicted chief ministers of various states, ministers of various states, officers of various states and Union government. If we go just by the CAG report being made final, no chief minister will continue," he said.

The minister echoed his party colleague Digvijaya Singh's comments of seeking a check on reports allegedly being leaked from the CAG office. "I saw our Congress general secretary and former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh saying that draft reports are being leaked from CAG. The entire issue is before the reports were submitted they were in public domain. It is under whose custody? Why has it gone to public? Who is responsible for this," he asked.

(With additional inputs from PTI)

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