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Manmohan Singh Should've Taken a Stand: Former CAG Vinod Rai on 2G Scam

Publication: NDTV.com
Date: September 15, 2014
URL: http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/manmohan-singh-should-ve-taken-a-stand-former-cag-vinod-rai-on-2g-scam-591879?pfrom=video-read

Former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai has alleged that ex-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh failed to check corruption duirng his tenure - most notably in 2G spectrum and coal blocks allocation. Mr Rai's estimates of massive losses in these scams had pushed the UPA government into a corner. In his soon-to-be-released book "Not Just an Accountant", Mr Rai has singled out Dr Singh for stinging criticism.

He speaks to NDTV's Barkha Dutt. Here are the highlights:

* On 2G scam: Not aware of statements made by Mr Raja, but our audit reports are based on facts
* Prime Minister said he will keep himself at an arm's length; you cannot do such thing in a parliamentary democracy
* The PM should have taken a stand, he should have consulted 2G spectrum allocation with a Group of Ministers
* Former minister Ashwani Kumar asked me if PM's name could be kept out of the audit report
* Nothing to suggest PM was complicit in 2G scam, he looked away
* (Congress MPs) Sanjay Nirupam and Sandeep Dikshit wanted me to keep the PM's name out of audit reports
* 3-4 Congress MPs said they saw reason in my 2G report
* Former telecom minister A Raja wrote to the Prime Minister about his course of action, so PM knew
* Unfair to say PM acted as an agent of his party leadership
* The presumptive figure of loss to government (Rs. 1.76 lakh crore) figure was a red flag, an alarm
* Wrote a dozen letters to PM on many issues, he didn't respond
* CAG's office got tremendous support from the media and judiciary
* My book is not to find fault with anyone
* My book is about bringing transparency in government procedures
* On aircraft purchase by Air India: In an August 2004 meeting, the government advised them to go and take a longer perspective
* Air India is an expert professional body, that is why the CMD protested in that meeting
* I am not targeting Praful Patel
* The debt went up to six billion dollars
* The process in government is that any proposal coming from a Public Sector organisation should be verified, but the ministry took it to the Finance Ministry, which then raised doubts on this proposal
* 'This is a supply driven proposal' - these were the exact words of the Finance Ministry
* The draft report had not come to the CAG at that time
* I think it was a gross commercial miscalculation by Air India to buy extra aircraft
* On coal block allocation: I found it a strange thing that the coal minister rejected PM's auction decision
* The auditing procedures are very structured
* There are very limited circulations of these reports
* We were holding press conferences only to explain these reports to the media
* I have come out with this now because the shackles of these don't apply to me
* Politics is not my cup of tea
* For the last 16 months, I have proved that it's not my cup of tea and I still believe the same

* Everybody has all options open
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