Group of ex-govt auditors backs CAG Vinod Rai

Vinod RaiA group of retired government auditors, officers of the Indian Audits and Accounts Service, have come out strongly in support of Comptroller & Auditor General of India Vinod Rai, under fire for supposedly exaggerating the loss incurred through the cheap sale of 2G spectrum in 2008.

Led by former additional secretary in the finance ministry S Krishnan, the retired officials – most of whom have worked in the CAG's office – accuse the Congress party and the government of running a campaign against the institution of CAG, and say that "the purpose of the campaign against CAG is clearly to cripple the institution permanently".

It is a "deliberate assault and an attempt to damage a crucial pillar of the basic structure of the Constitution," said a statement jointly issued by former additional deputy CAG S C Anand, deputy CAGs B P Mathur, J N Gupta and R Parameshwar and former secretary, government of India, Ramaswamy R Iyer, all senior retired officers of the Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IAAS).

The statement comes in wake of controversy generated by former director general of CAG R P Singh, who had distanced himself from the report on 2G spectrum allocation, saying he was pressured into agreeing with the presumptive loss of Rs1.76 lakh crore in sale of airwaves.

"Obviously it is indeed not and cannot be his (Singh's) report. All audit reports are the CAG's reports. The vast organisation under the CAG, including R P Singh, assists the CAG in discharging his constitutional responsibilities, and has no separate existence of its own," the statement said.

Responding to information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari's suggestion for an open debate on the report with Rai, the former officials said once a report has been finalised, signed and submitted to the President, there is no question of the CAG debating it with anyone.