CAG within mandate to calculate 2G loss: Chacko

CAG within mandate to calculate 2G loss: Chacko

CAG within mandate to calculate 2G loss: Chacko

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) was within its ''mandate'' to calculate presumptive loss of Rs.1.76 lakh crore in the allocation of 2G spectrum, but whether it amounted to questioning government policy was ''unanswered'', joint parliamentary committee (JPC) chairman P.C. Chacko said Monday.

Chacko, who heads the panel to probe India's telecom licensing policy in the wake of the alleged 2G spectrum allocation scam, was speaking to the media after the panel was briefed by CAG Vinod Rai on how he had quantified that the nation suffered a presumptive loss of Rs.1.76 lakh crore in the allotment.

"They have acted within the mandate in calculating notional losses. Rai told the committee that it was CAG's mandate to calculate losses," Chacko told reporters.
Chacko, however, said that since the government had taken the decision not to auction the scarce telecom waves, the CAG was asked by "some members" if quantifying the loss  amounted to questioning the policy prescription.

"He (Rai) did not answer that," Chacko said, adding policy matters are "unauditable".
The CAG, in a report to parliament last year, had pegged the presumptive loss to the exchequer in 2G spectrum allocation at Rs 1.76 lakh crore.

The findings triggered a political storm and subsequent events led to the resignation of the then communications minister A Raja.

Chacko said the CAG "without questioning policy decisions, can calculate presumptive losses".

The JPC was formed after persistent demands from the opposition parties at the beginning of the winter session in February and it was mandated to look into India's telecom policy from 1998 to 2008 that also covers the period of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rule.

The JPC, at its two meetings so far, has studied the matter and the technical aspects of the mobile telephony and is likely to call witnesses in the case from June 29.

The panel will hear from CBI chief A.P. Singh June 7 and a day later, officials of the union finance ministry will appear before the committee.

Telecom Regulatory Authority Chairman J.S. Sarma will also conclude his presentation on the issue that was incomplete during the May 18 meeting.