Senior Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam has said that former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai’s apology to him over the 2G and coal block allocations has serious political implications as the report was used by political opponents to malign the then Congress-led UPA government. In an interview to Outlook, Nirupam says Rai must apologise to the country for his “faulty” report.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q) You have filed a defamation case against former CAG Vinod Rai over a claim he made during a media interview that he was pressured by you and other MPs to keep former PM Manmohan Singh’s name out of the 2G spectrum report. Now that Rai has tendered an apology to the court, do you feel vindicated?
Rai has tendered unconditional apology in the court because he had no other option. He was told by his lawyer that he will have to go behind bars since he could not prove his claims against me. But that is not all. Rai’s 2G spectrum report was rejected by the court. After a trail over seven years, the special court came to the conclusion that there was no substance in the case. All the accused, including former minister A. Raja, were acquitted. Rai should apologise to the nation for presenting a faulty report. His coal scam report is also faulty as it says that coal blocks should have been auctioned. There was a rule, there was a norm and there was a coal block allocation policy in place in our country. The government has allocated the coal blocks on the basis of those policies. How could you say that there should have been an auction? That report was also malicious. For all the lies, I demand that Rai should apologise to the nation.
Q) The 2G spectrum case and the coal block allocation scandal came as a major setback to the UPA II government led by Manmohan Singh. The allegations gave ammunition to the BJP and other parties in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
This was a politically-motivated move. The UPA regime was demolished by the CAG reports. The Congress was defamed by these fake reports. I would say that Rai and his manufactured lies are responsible for the current situation of the Congress party.
Q) Why do you think the apology of Vinod Rai raises serious questions and the BJP and other political parties benefitted by the CAG report?
It’s the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which benefitted from the CAG reports on 2G and Coal scam. Rai was rewarded for this when the BJP came to power in 2014. He was made the chairman of the Banks Board Bureau by the NDA government after they took over.
Q) The CAG reports on 2G and coal scam pegged the loss to the exchequer at Rs 1.75 lakh crore and Rs 1.8 lakh crore respectively. Though the accused, including former ministers have been acquitted by the court, do you think the damage is yet to be undone?
The damage done to the Congress party is irreparable. I still remember how one of the leading newspapers quoted CAG’s draft report for their headline. How did the CAG draft report get leaked to the media? Draft reports cannot be leaked to the media and it shouldn’t be used as a final report. But the media, the BJP, and the ‘India Against Corruption’ ran a campaign against the Congress to help the BJP win the 2014 elections. They are behind the downfall of the Congress. Now it’s time to redeem the Congress.