Loss and profit

It appears, from the internal documents of both, that the Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was effectively stalking the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) during their respective investigations into the 2G spectrum allocation and that PAC chairperson Murli Manohar Joshi may have been responsible for that injudicious state of affairs. In the usual scheme of things, the CAG does act as a secretariat to the PAC. Its reports are its own, however, meant to be presented to the president and Parliament and then objectively examined by the PAC. In this case, the work of the two bodies overlapped, as they both independently examined the magnitude of the 2G losses.

From the documented interaction between the PAC and the CAG, it is apparent that Joshi made his priorities clear, and they did not entirely come from a spirit of disinterested inquiry. To take another example, he also overrode then finance secretary Ashok Chawla's view that there could be several possible inferences from the available information, and that the task was best left to independent experts; a high school student could assess the losses, claimed Joshi. The PAC chairman repeatedly tried to access the CAG's audit findings, reminding it that if its report was delayed, "the executive might get the time to cover up", and that it would make sense for the PAC to time its report with the CAG's, given the heightened interest in the case. With this communication taking place against the backdrop of intense parliamentary drama over the alleged irregularities in 2G spectrum allocation, the way Joshi actively pushed for the synchronisation of two independent reports raises questions. Even after the PAC secretariat was told that the CAG could not share its findings before they were tabled in Parliament, Joshi asked again, twice, for the audit findings. As a veteran parliamentarian, Joshi was bound to know that this could be seen as a case of less than strict adherence to parliamentary procedure

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