Had Vinod Rai, India’s former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) not painstakingly put in enormous efforts to expose the UPA government’s corruption riddled facade, the NDA government of Narendra Modi may not have even been in existence today. The NDA government which is harping as India’s harbinger today must not forget that the UPA punching bag that it has generously been using to show case what went wrong with this country of 1.2 billion can also pass the same snide remarks on union finance minister Arun Jaitley’s recent suggestions that the CAG should ‘not sensationalise’ and that it should not be in the hoard of getting its findings occupy headlines.
The difficult position that Jaitley now finds himself in, is substantiated by the fact that the Congress party had too voiced the same concerns as Jaitley does now and had showed its displeasure when huge notional losses to the tune of Rs 1.76 lakh crore and Rs 1.84 lakh crore in the 2G spectrum and the coal mine allotment scams respectively. Perhaps Jaitley, in spite of being a practicing apex court lawyer since 1977, is forgetting the fact that the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General is constitutional and that he, in his capacity as a union minister has got no authority to raise questions on its functioning.
In fact had the previous CAG Vinod Rai, a distinguished 1972 Kerala cadre Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer not taken the lid of the massively complicit nature of UPA’s modus operandi from 2004 onwards, many erudite Indians (politicians from BJP included) who brag about having complete knowledge and who took on the past government in both the houses of the Indian parliament with a view to completely dismember it wouldn’t have spoken with so much authority.
It will be interesting to watch out how the current CAG Shashi Kant Sharma will react to the finance minister’s remarks? If he decided to revert tooth and nail, he will indeed be doing a great service to not only the people of this country but also to the aspirations of the Constituent Assembly which gave us the world’s most detailed compilation of rules and procedures on how to govern a country.
However, if Sharma fails to defend the prestigious office he is now the authority of it might be safe for us to deduct that there is no difference between him and the other government appointees. It must be noted that Mukul Rohatgi who is now the Attorney General of India and Ranjit Kumar, the Solicitor General have both had their run-ins with BJP at the centre and the state level too. While the former was an additional solicitor general during the Vajpayee regime, the latter successfully defended the Gujarat government in the Godhra riots and also against the snooping allegations that had put the now PM Narendra Modi and the current BJP president Amit Shah in the dock.