UPA told ex-CAG to shield scam-tainted

Last Updated 24 August 2014, 19:53 IST

More than a year after retirement, former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai has stirred up yet another controversy, saying he was pressured by UPA ministers to drop names of people in the audit reports on the allocation of coal blocks and the Commonwealth Games (CWG) scam.

The comments—made in an interview to a newspaper—come weeks before the release of his book on his experience as CAG, leading the Congress and its ally NCP to accuse him of creating sensationalism to boost the book's sales.

Titled “Not Just an Accountant”, Rai’s book is believed to be critical of the UPA regime, with which he had frequent run-ins. It is to be released in October.

Rai said on Saturday: “Politicians came to my home and told me not to name some people and protect some others in connection with the CWG and coal-block allocation reports.”  A day later, he refused to meet reporters who reached his house.

“Why didn't the former CAG bring these facts into the public domain while he was in office? If he was under any pressure at all or was being coerced either obliquely, directly or implicitly that certain people be named and others deleted, was it not incumbent upon him to make it public at that point of time?” Congress leader Manish Tewari asked here.

Tewari later tweeted: “Rai Sahib allegedly says he was holding a constitutional position, hence the silence. Was it not incumbent on him since he was holding a constitutional position to speak out if he was being ostensibly pressurised to do or not to do his duty in a particular manner?”

Several books, including those by Manmohan Singh's former media adviser Sanjay Baru, former external affairs minister Natwar Singh and former coal secretary P C Parakh, have sparked controversy by revealing unknown facets and incidents about the UPA regime.

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said he might go to court if he found more evidence of such acts in Rai’s book. “Good that these officers are speaking out. Vinod Rai is an upright man. Manmohan Singh acted at the behest of Sonia Gandhi and others. In the 2G case, P Chidambaram’s name should have been there. I will read the book and then go to court if there is more evidence,” he told a television channel.

Rai retired last year after several confrontations with the UPA government. In the audit reports, he had estimated a “notional” loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer in the 2G spectrum allocation scam, and a loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crore in the coal block allocation case.

(Published 24 August 2014, 19:53 IST)

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