CBI chief contradicts Sibal’s remarks on 2G losses (Lead)

February 16th, 2011 - 12:14 am ICT by IANS  

Meira Kumar New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director A.P.Singh Tuesday told parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that it would be wrong to say that there was no loss to the exchequer in the 2G spectrum scam, thus contradicting Communications Minister Kapil Sibal who had maintained that estimated losses in the CAG report on the issue were utterly erroneous. PAC chairman Murli Manohar Joshi told reporters after the CBI director appeared before the panel Tuesday that Singh gave frank answers to questions on the 2G controversy.

“The important thing that he (the CBI director) said was that it would be wrong to say from the progress in the case so far that there was zero loss,” Joshi said.

The CBI director’s remarks contradict those of Sibal last month that the estimated loss of Rs.1.76 lakh crore arrived at by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) was “utterly erroneous and without any basis”.

Joshi said the CBI director told the PAC members that the agency was focused more on the criminal investigation in the 2G spectrum case, which was its main mandate, and he could not say much about the quantum of loss to the exchequer.

More information had been sought by the members from the CBI chief, Joshi said.

Asked if former communications minister Arun Shourie will be asked to appear before the PAC, Joshi said it will depend on the facts told by the CBI to the committee.

“The CBI has called him (Shourie) Feb 21. After talking to him, they will keep the facts before the panel. The PAC will look into it and the members will take a decision on that basis,” he said.

Asked about the letter written by him to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar concerning remarks of Sibal slamming the CAG’s report on the 2G spectrum, Joshi said he had received a reply.

He said the members felt the issue should be discussed further with the speaker.

To a question about Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s offer to appear before the PAC, Joshi said his letter is with the PAC. “If a decision is taken, you will come to know,” he said.

He said the Prime Minister’s Office had provided a lot of information and more queries have been forwarded.

On the possibility of summoning Sibal, he said a decision will be taken by the PAC members.

Joshi said at its meeting in the morning, the PAC approved the ‘action taken’ report concerning accusation in submarine deals and the report relating to special economic zones and Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP).

On the ‘action taken’ report on accquisition of submarines, he said the loss should be looked into seriously and responsibilty should be fixed.

He said that the PAC looked at the CAG report concerning the AIBP and found many flaws in the implementation of the scheme. “There are many shortcomings. The committee has given warnings,” he said.

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