In an open letter to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, as many as 60 former civil servants have questioned the unusual delay in the national auditor coming out with reports on demonetisation and the Rafale fighter jet deal.
“We wish to bring to the CAG’s notice our concern about what seems to be unconscionable and unwarranted delay in bringing out the audit reports on demonetisation (November 2016) and the Rafale deal (April 2015),” read the letter, a copy of which has also been sent to President Ram Nath Kovind.
The signatories to the letter include former IPS officer J.F. Ribeiro, former IAS officers Jawhar Sircar, Aruna Roy, and Harsh Mandar, and former Indian Foreign Service officer Aftab Seth.
“The CAG’s audit reports on the 2G scam, Coal scam, Adarsh scam, Commonwealth Games scam, etc., which influenced public perception of the then government’s actions, had invited appreciation from various quarters.
“But an impression is gaining ground that the CAG is deliberately delaying its audit reports on demonetisation and the Rafale deal till after the May 2019 elections so as not to embarrass the present government,” it said as it reminded the auditor of its independence from the Executive as per Articles 148-151 of the Constitution read with the CAG’s (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971.
“The CAG’s failure to present the audit reports on demonetisation and the Rafale deal in time may be seen as a partisan action and may create a crisis of credibility for this important institution,” the letter said.
“In the past, the CAG has been criticised for nit-picking and focusing on trivial issues on the one hand, and for audit over-reach on the other. But there was never any occasion to accuse the CAG of being influenced by the government or having to remind it about the timely performance of its Constitutional duties,” it added.
The letter urged the CAG to complete the audits and reports “without any further delay” so that they can be “tabled in the winter session of Parliament in December”.
They said the citizens had a right to insist upon timely submission of audit reports by the CAG so that they can make an “informed choice” while voting.