New Delhi, Aug 27: After Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement in Parliament, the government insisted he had not targeted the CAG by contesting its report on coal block allocation but only picked faults.
Sources said the Prime Minister was pointing out that the questions raised by the CAG would be answered in Parliament's Public Accounts Committee, the actual forum for examination of reports of the government auditor. "He (PM) was not attacking the Constitutional body of CAG. He was only bringing out flaws in its report," a source said, contending it was anybody's right to challenge the findings of the auditor.
The source said the Prime Minister has respect for the constitutional body but only wants it ensure that its reports are "accurate, balanced and fair". In this context, attention was drawn to Singh's speech at the CAG's 150th anniversary programme in Nov 2010 where he had said "as an important watchdog in our democracy, it falls upon this institution to sift the wheat from the chaff, to distinguish between wrong-doing and genuine errors, to appreciate the context and circumstances of decision-making processes."
Noting that CAG reports are taken very seriously by the media, the public, the government and Parliament, Singh had said "very often, there is a very thin line between fair criticism and fault-finding, between hazarding a guess and making a reasonable estimate, between a bonafide genuine error and a deliberate mistake."
Lauding CAG's contribution to ensuring accountability in the processes of government, Singh had said "times are changing and so are our needs. The institution will have therefore to further enhance its capabilities and its skills and re-orient itself to deliver results that our nation expects of it in the years that lie ahead."