PAC open to questioning Gadkari

PAC open to questioning Gadkari

Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman K V Thomas on Tuesday said he was open to questioning Minister Nitin Gadkari over the Purti Group issue if the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) is referred to the panel.

“We are open to that,” Thomas said when asked whether the PAC would question Gadkari in the reported irregularities in the loan extended by Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited (IREDA) to the Purti Sakhar Karkhana Limited (PSKL), an issue on which the CAG had passed certain strictures. PSKL is a part of Purti Group in which Gadkari was once a board member.

The Purti Group issue had stalled the proceedings in the Rajya Sabha for three days with the Congress demanding the ousting of Gadkari from the Union Council of Ministers.

However, Thomas’ plans could fail if the report of the CAG is referred to the Committee on Public Undertakings (COPU) instead of the PAC. Unlike the PAC, the COPU is chaired by a parliamentarian from the ruling party. Asked whether the PAC can take suo motu cognisance of the issue, Thomas said it could be possible only if the matter comes before the committee.

The CAG report on “Financing of Renewable Energy Projects by (IREDA)” states that in the case of PSKL, the ministry sanctioned Rs 1.92 crore as interest subsidy. Against this, the ministry released Rs 1.37 crore in June 2004 to IREDA on net present value-basis for disbursement to the borrower PSKL.

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