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Row brews over selection of new CAG

The process of selection for the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has sparked off a new debate creating a political controversy. The term of current CAG Vinod Rai ends in May.

Eminent retired bureaucrats and members of the Forum of Retired Officers of Indian Audit and Accounts Service have demanded the creation of a selection committee headed by Prime Minister to select the new CAG, after Rai retires. They have submitted a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, arguing that need of the hour was a ‘transparent, institutionalised selection mechanism’ for the appointment of the next CAG. The memorandum has also been submitted to the Leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), the Lok Sabha Speaker and a few MPs like L K Advani, Prakash Karat and Gurudas Dasgupta.

They have contended that when such a committee procedure had been adopted for the selection of the Chief Vigilance Commissioner and the National Human Rights Commission Chairman, the same procedure should be applied for the selection of the CAG.

According to the memorandum, the proposed selection committee should comprise of the Finance Minister, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, the Lok Sabha Speaker, the PAC Chairman and, if possible, the Chief Justice of India or other eminent legal luminary. The signatories to the memorandum included the former deputy CAGs, JN Gupta, BP Mathur, R Parameswar; and the former secretary Ministry of Water Resources, Ramaswmy R Iyer.

In an earlier report Millennium Post had said that a strong section comprising political and corporate lobbyists is pushing the name of DK Mittal, banking secretary. Other contenders for this post include - PK Mishra (former Secretary Department of Personnel & Training) and GC Chaturvedi  (former secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.) All three of these bureaucrats are from the Uttar Pradesh cadre.
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