New Delhi: “On one occasion when I called on the Prime Minister, he 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?,” former CAG Vinod Rai said.
Recalling that Dr Manmohan Singh had on November 16, 2010 told him that the figure of Rs 1.76 lakh crore 2G loss was not the right way of computing, Mr Rai said he had told the then PM “‘Sir, these are the econometric methods that you have taught us’. This was sitting on the stage of Vigyan Bhavan”.
On audit of Reliance Industries’ KG-basin gas fields, he said, “The PM’s remarks about Reliance in a conversation do not nail him directly... In Reliance case, no decision was taken at the minister’s level. This he (Mukesh Ambani) was running it himself”.
Mr Rai said he did not get any support from the political establishment or the government at that time except for one or two statements by then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.
When asked if his phone was being tapped, he replied “100 per cent. Of course, it was being tapped”.
Asked if he had been the prime minister what his response would have been to the loss figures in CAG reports, Rai said: “I would have said that I would hold it in abeyance for the time being in the belief that I was damaging my politics in letting this unfold”.
He said Dr Singh was “overawed by the compulsions of coalition politics” and UPA’s response to scams was “tempered by politics”.
“If you are in politics and become the head of a government, your training in Oxford or Cambridge has nothing to do with it. It is ultimately robust commonsense applied in a particular systemised fashion that contains administration. You just have to have your antenna in place to be able to pick up whatever is there in the environment. And then with alacrity respond to it. But your response is the main thing.” In an interview to a national channel, Mr Rai claimed Congress MPs including Sandeep Dikshit, Sanjay Nirupam and Ashwani Kumar sought to bring pressure on him to keep Prime Minister’s name out of CAG reports on 2G and coal block allocation.