New Delhi: In a statement that could send ripples across the Congress, senior party leader and former parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath has claimed that he had warned former prime minister Manmohan Singh over 2G allocations. "I did write a letter to the PM warning him of the allocations in 2G. It is already in the government files," said the Congress leader.
Kamal Nath's claims come at a time when former Comptroller and Auditor General of India Vinod Rai has alleged that the former PM took no corrective measures to avert loss to the exchequer despite being aware of the actions of the various ministries and many cabinet ministers bringing the irregularities to his notice.
Training guns at Singh, the Bharatiya Janata Party questioned why Singh did not intervene to stop the scams under the UPA regime. "It is clear that he was not intervening but who was stopping him? Was it the 2G of the Congress that was preventing it - Sonia G and Rahul G? This is the big question that people of this country will ask," BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said.
However, Congress leader Manish Tewari defended Singh saying that he has nothing to answer in teh scams. "In so far as the 2G case is concerned, the developments in the telecom sector between 1995 and 2009 were looked at extensively by the joint parliamentary committee. The committee in its report has debunked the theory that was put out by the then CAG. There is nothing that Manmohan Singh has to answer for," Tewari said.
The former CAG has also criticised Singh by saying that integrity is not just financial but intellectual and professional too and claimed that Congress leaders had sought to apply pressure on him to keen the PM's name out of audit reports. "Integrity is not just financial; it is intellectual integrity; it is professional integrity. You have an oath of allegiance to the constitution and that is important," he said.
While Rai claimed that Congress leaders including Sanjay Nirupam sought to apply pressure on him to keep the former PM's name out of audit reports, Nirupam said that his claims are totally wrong. "I have never spoken to him. I challenge his claims. He is totally wrong," said the Congress leader.
Rai, whose loss estimates in 2G spectrum and coal block allocations pushed the then UPA government into a corner, was also critical of the coalition politics under Singh and alleged suggested that he was more interested in remaining in power.
"You cannot have the nation being subjugated to the state and the state being a coalition of political parties. The belief was that good politics makes good economics too. But does good politics mean just staying in power," he asked.
Rai, who is writing a book on his days as head of the CAG, said his phone was tapped by the then UPA government and he felt Singh was part of the decisions to allocate 2G telecom spectrum on first-cum-first serve basis and coal blocks without auction.
"There is no way Singh can shirk responsibility in in 2G and coal scams. In 2G all the letters written by then telecom Minister A Raja were to him and he was replying to those letters. I got no reply to any letter I wrote to him. On one occasion when I called on him, the PM said I hope you don't expect a reply from me, whereas he was replying to Raja twice a day. So how can he be not held responsible for the onus of that decision?," Rai said.