In response to the recent unabashed declarations of the Comptroller and Audit General (CAG) report, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh took on the audit body saying that the CAG had ‘overstepped’ its mandate by likely going beyond the constitutional norms that circumference the body of power in its criticism of irregularities in government policies with respect to its alleged claim of favoritism towards oil firms. During a meeting held with five editors of prominent media agencies at his official residence recently, the Prime Minister stated that it has never happened in the past that a CAG decided to comment on government policy issues in a preempted press conference like present CAG (Vinod Rai) has done.
The oblique criticism stated by the Prime Minister of the CAG is suggestive of the agitation within the government over the recent CAG reports that have palpably raised questions of serious irregularities in government policies and its deals with public enterprises. Prime Minister, in his statements, reaffirmed that CAG did not have the authority to examine policy issues and also that the supreme audit institution of the country should take into account the ‘uncertain’ environment under which the government is compelled to take decisions with respect individual ministries.
Both the Prime Minister and other Ministers of the UPA government have been criticizing the Comptroller and Auditor General for going public with its audit report on the 2G spectrum sale and oil ministry’s alleged prejudice. "This is just a draft report. If there is any irregularity, there are mechanisms to correct it," the Prime Minister said.
For now, CAG is unable to comment on the rationality of its claim of the lapses in allocation of gas blocks and the increase in capital expenditure of oil firms in this initial draft of audit report. The exit conference, to be held next week, will see CAG and the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas finalize the audit report on oil exploration blocks and production sharing contracts.