I don’t understand why everyone is hell bent on proving me wrong. I always thought Congress leaders with their knowledge and wisdom were a notch above leaders of other parties, except in mass acceptance and popularity. Now, Mr. Rajdeep Surjewala proved that I was wrong. The enthusiasm he displayed could only be matched with that of Maria Sharapova, when she kisses the trophy she got after winning (with the help of dope).
Randeep Surjewala claims to have unearthed a scam to the tune of INR45,000 Crores in the telecom sector and blamed Modi government is“surreptiously taking steps” taking steps to protect the interests of six telecom giants causing loss to the exchequer.
I really missed the charm and efficacy of Mr. Kapil Sibal who could explain his ‘zero loss’ theory with the same fluency that was exhibited by Albert Einstein while he explained the ‘theory of relativity’.
For the facts, the CAG report in discussion was submitted to the parliament in March, 2016 indicating a loss of INR12,489 Crores to the exchequer. Within four days the then minister of Telecom had announced that a special audit would be done to look into the books of these telecom companies. If congress was following the proceedings in parliament, they might have noted what was going on and perhaps objected the government’s decision. In fact, CAG expressed surprise over ‘another audit’ by empaneled auditors questioning the need for another audit. Vinod Rai, former CAG had also questioned the wisdom of such a decision and reiterated that only CAG has such capability to audit these companies.
Though it is not clear why the government chose to have a repeat audit, Ravi Shankar Prasad had said (in March) “I have taken a grim view of this because this is again a legacy issue of the previous government. Even though in terms of well-established parliamentary procedure, the report will go to the Public Accounts Committee, I have directed Secretary, Telecom, and Member, Finance, to put in place a robust system in order that such gaps do not recur,”
He was talking not on the repeat audit and why it is needed but was simply talking on prevent such lapses in future.
Now, let us assume for a moment that Modi & Prasad are cooking some scam. What the opposition should do? It keeps all eyes open and wait till the wrong act is ‘committed’. Then go to the press and shout waving sheets of evidence. I don’t mean newspaper cuttings like those waved by Arvind Kejriwal, but file notes and documents incriminating the culprits.
And what Randeep Surjewala did? He went to town three month after the decision to re-audit. And claimed that the loss is INR 45,000 Crore.
What the CAG report says? Verification of records of six PSPs indicated total understatement of ` 46045.75 crore in GR having corresponding impact of ` 3752.37 crore on LF and ` 1460.23 crore on SUC. The interest on this short/ non-payment of LF and SUC works out to ` 7276.33 crore.
And the report presented the financial implication in a tabular format detailing the contribution of each telecom company and the total wasINR12488.93 Crores.
Even if one forgives Randeep Surjewala of responding lately, he exhibited his unpreparedness when he claims the scam was worth ofINR45,000Cr but there was loss of INR12,489Cr.
He went on to say that ‘without the direct or indirect concurrence’ of Prime Minister such a scam could not happen and it is ‘improper’ to blame one minister. I think this statement is music to the ears of BJP leaders. How they would relish the thought of Manmohan Singh owning up the responsibility for 2G scam and coal blocks allocation? Why Manmohan Singh went to Supreme Court and kept the case involving him in abeyance?
Only correct question raised by Randeep Surjewala was ‘why BJP, who treated CAG as the credible institution when in opposition tried to order a special audit’. But, the correctness of this question had lost its importance in the cacophony raised by him talking so much and showing so little.
Meanwhile, DoT declared tax notices are being sent to all companies and as soon as the allegations of Randeep Surjewala were published in the newspapers, share prices of these companies have tanked. May be that is his only achievement. He can buy some shares at a lesser price.
What these companies say? The matters raised by CAG were settled or stayed in various courts earlier.
On its part, BJP rubbished his allegations and declared that ‘every pie would be recovered’. Now, it is for sure they are going to beat the hell out of these companies. And the matter would be decided by courts only, as these companies, in all probability refuse to pay the demanded amount.
I could see how Chidambaram and Sibal are cringing within themselves for the lost chance to corner the government in next session. Randeep Surjewala may learn that in politics too, ‘patience’ pays. Wait till something happen and then respond, rather than firing warning shots.
For us general public, we lost the chance to witness the first scam of Modi, to the over enthusiasm of Randeep Surjewala. Hmmm…