PAC upset with Sibal for CAG attack

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New Delhi: Hitting out at Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, Parliament`s Public Accounts Committee on Wednesday said his "improper" remarks against the CAG on the 2G spectrum issue had hurt the dignity of the government auditor.

Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman Murli Manohar Joshi also said that the committee members had asked him to take appropriate steps to ensure that such instances do not recur.

"The sense of the committee was that Sibal`s remarks were improper, against propriety and an attack on the dignity of PAC and CAG," Joshi told reporters here.

He said the forum of the Committee was available to the minister to make any observation or suggestion on the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on alleged irregularities in the 2G spectrum allocations.

Joshi launched a defence of the CAG contending that the auditor had never said his estimates on presumptive losses to the exchequer were final. "The CAG had only mentioned three different figures based on three different models to calculate the presumptive loss. It had never said the report was final," he said.

To a question on whether Sibal`s remarks amounted to breach of privilege, the BJP leader said as of now he was not in a position to say anything on the issue.

However, he said the PAC would consider steps that were necessary to avoid repeat of such incidents.

In reply to a question, Joshi said there was no suggestion or proposal before the Committee today to call Sibal for seeking clarification on his remarks.

At a press conference last week, Sibal had described as "utterly erroneous and without any basis" the estimated loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore arrived at by the CAG on account of allocation of 2G spectrum to telecom operators.

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