Congress defends decision on coal blocks, slams CAG
New Delhi, Aug 18 (IANS) The Congress Saturday defended the government decision not to auction coal blocks and slammed the country's chief auditor for its claim of Rs.1.86 lakh crore presumptive loss to the exchequer, saying the CAG should desist from "putting numbers" and exceeding its mandate.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari told reporters that keeping in mind India's vast and immediate energy needs, the government had taken the decision not to go in for auction.
He also said that the value of the rupee has changed over the years.
"It is our belief and we have been consistently saying that the Comptroller and Auditor General should desist from putting figures" in reports, he added.
Tewari said the Public Accounts Committee of parliament that studies the report puts a figure of loss.
Criticising CAG Vinod Rai, the Congress spokesperson said that under the constitutional framework there should be "balance between all institutions and mutual respect".
"When they cross the Lakshman Rekha and choose to start work on what they are not mandated for, then it is our duty to remind them to abide by constitutional propriety," Tewari said.
The Congress spokesperson also hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), saying when the CAG report raises similar questions about BJP-ruled states like Gujarat, Chhattisgarh or Madhya Pradesh, then their chief ministers say it is not in the auditor's field.
"But when it concerns the centre, they forget all rules and start slamming the government," he said.
On Friday, the BJP demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the alleged irregularities pointed out in the CAG report as he had held the coal portfolio between 2006 and 2009.
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