Intervene in government attack on CAG, BJP tells president (Lead)

September 12th, 2012 - 5:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, Sep 12 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Wednesday asked President Pranab Mukherjee to intervene and check the government’s repeated attacks on the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

Accusing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Congress of “dangerous” attacks on the CAG over the coal block allocation report, a BJP delegation led by L.K. Advani called on Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Advani said they told the president that it was his duty to intervene if any constitutional body was sought to be undermined.

Addressing reporters, he said they told the president that the CAG was an important constitutional body and that his intervention was necessary “considering the attitude of government”.

Advani, accompanied by Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairperson Murli Manohar Joshi, said they urged the president to tell the government that “criticism of CAG is inappropriate”.

The president, he said, told them that he would keep all factors in mind and look into the matter.

The CAG has claimed a presumptive loss of Rs.1.86 lakh crore due to allocation of coal blocks instead of auctioning them. The prime minister was in charge of the coal ministry for a major part between 2004 and 2009.

Manmohan Singh called CAG’s findings “flawed on multiple counts” and said the findings were “clearly disputable”.

“The prime minister’s statement was against CAG. He said CAG report was flawed on multiple counts. When the prime minister himself says so, his followers get the licence (to attack CAG). The Congress spokesperson said the CAG and BJP together did not allow parliament to function,” Advani said.

In a memorandum, the BJP said the prime minister’s remarks would render the PAC dysfunctional and the consequences were fraught with danger of ending parliamentary system of functioning democracy.

It noted that the Prime Minister’s Office had said that the observations of the CAG were disputable and would be challenged when the matter came before the PAC.

“The prime minister by issuing such a statement is in fact converting a bipartisan discussion in PAC into a highly polarised partisan debate. This will render the PAC totally dysfunctional.

“The consequences are fraught with grave dangers to all forms of financial accountability of the government to the people of India through its elected representatives. This will be the end of parliamentary system of a functioning democracy,” the memorandum stated.

The memorandum said MPs of the Congress had gone public in criticising the CAG’s report.

It quoted from speeches of former president Rajendra Prasad, former vice president S. Radhakrishnan and former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru to emphasise that the functions of the CAG were of greatest public utility.

The BJP leaders also referred to Mukherjee’s own remarks as finance minister on the role of PAC and CAG in fortifying governance through the system of checks and balances.

“We are, therefore, approaching you to seek your intervention as the defender of the constitution and get this dangerous attack not only on the CAG but on the entire constitutional mechanism designed by our founding fathers to ensure accountability and transparency. We are striving and shall continue to do so for making India corruption free,” the memorandum said.

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