Ex-CAG Vinod Rai should tender an apology to Dr Manmohan Singh, says Sanjay Nirupam

Describing the apology tendered to him and admission by the former CAG that what he had said was not factually correct as ‘not enough’, Nirupam wants him to apologise to the former PM

(Left) Vinod Rai (Right) Sanjay Nirupam
(Left) Vinod Rai (Right) Sanjay Nirupam
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Vishwadeepak

The conspiracy to bring down the UPA Government headed by Dr Manmohan Singh was executed through India Against Corruption, spearheaded by the likes of Anna Hazare, Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal and Baba Ramdev among others, believes former Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam. Former Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Vinod Rai, the RSS affiliates and BJP, he says, fuelled the propaganda against Dr Singh.

Nirupam, who extracted an apology this week from Rai in court for alleging that he had asked the former CAG to leave out Dr Singh’s name from the report, calls the CAG report on the 2G spectrum allocation a fraud. He spoke to Vishwadeepak:

You are being congratulated for extracting the apology from Vinod Rai, who had acquired a larger-than-life image of a crusader against corruption. You must be feeling satisfied…

Ever since the 2G report became public in 2010 through leaks in the media, I have been saying that this report was fraudulently prepared because the basis on which the report was prepared was itself wrong.

The allegation against the UPA was that it should have auctioned the spectrum and the coal blocks. Auction, as against allocation, they argued, would fetch higher revenue to the Government. But the Congress-led UPA government had merely followed a policy formulated by the NDA Government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The National Telecom Policy (NTP) was first formulated in 1994, then amended when Ram Vilas Paswan was the minister in Vajpayee government between 1999-2001. Vajpayee again brought in minor changes in 2003. This is the policy that the UPA continued to follow. It was only in 2012 that the draft of a New Telecom Policy was placed in the public domain by the UPA in view of the fast changes in telecom technology.

The decision not to auction the spectrum was meant to make the Indian telecom sector competitive and rates inexpensive to benefit both consumers and operators. This was the time when consumers were paying Rs 15 to 20 per minute for mobile calls, forget about data. Everybody knows how the rates fell.

Ex-CAG Vinod Rai should tender an apology to Dr Manmohan Singh, says Sanjay Nirupam

The period between 2000 and 2012, even UPA detractors concede, revolutionized the telecom sector…

Providing better connectivity at affordable rates was the aim. Both the first NDA Government and the UPA made the Indian telecom sector among the most flourishing industries in the world. Then Vinod Rai came and destroyed everything with the help of RSS and BJP. Every operator did not make the same profit, some made more and some less but the rates fell and people benefitted.

Why do you think Vinod Rai’s calculations were wrong?

He estimated that the Government of India had incurred a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh Crore by not auctioning the spectrum. Mark the word ‘estimate’. His entire report was based on presumptions. The loss was not real but presumptive, based on a hypothesis. But he was not questioned by the media.

Accountancy does allow presumptive profits to be calculated but not presumptive loss. But thanks to 24x7 TV channels and the media, Rai, IAC and BJP convinced people that the public exchequer had lost a colossal sum of money. Cabinet ministers A Raja and Kanimozhi paid a very heavy price for this reckless presumption by the CAG, IAC and the media.

They were jailed for no reason and their prestige ruined. Even the CBI failed to produce any evidence against them and they were acquitted by the court, as everybody now knows. Can you imagine the agony, pain and suffering they went through? Who will pay for the loss they incurred in public life: Anna Hazare, Kejriwal, or BJP/RSS?

Ex-CAG Vinod Rai should tender an apology to Dr Manmohan Singh, says Sanjay Nirupam

Mainstream media had then questioned Manmohan Singh’s effectiveness as the Prime Minister. BJP/RSS went on saying he was a silent partner in the ‘crime.’ How do you look back at those allegations?

Dr Manmohan Singh has an impeccable record. He is a saint-politician. But a systematic campaign was launched to defame and malign him. From Anna Hazare to Kejriwal to Baba Ramdev were involved in this campaign which was run, supported, and funded by the RSS-BJP. I consider this a sin and one of the prime sinners is Vinod Rai. It is a different matter that they failed to make a dent in Dr Singh’s image and public record.

But is honesty at the top sufficient for ensuring good governance?

Honesty is just one of the prominent aspects of Manmohan Singh’s personality. His understanding of the Indian economy and ability to run a government like a great captain is not appreciated enough.

He knows the economy inside out, having been the finance minister and before that as RBI Governor and as Member of the Planning Commission. Look at how the economy has been derailed under the watch of Narendra Modi, who doesn’t seem to have a clue. Who can forget Dr Singh’s stewardship of the economy following the turbulence caused by the global sub-prime banking crisis in 2008?

Former US president Barack Obama was so impressed with Manmohan Singh Ji that he, during a G8 meet, effusively praised him for saving the Indian economy from recession.

After Demonetisation, Dr Singh had correctly predicted a two percent fall in the GDP. Indian economy is shrinking. People’s income is going down while inflation is now alarming. During UPA’s tenure, inflation was high but so was income. India’s GDP was growing. But today one does not see any light at the end of the tunnel.

Ex-CAG Vinod Rai should tender an apology to Dr Manmohan Singh, says Sanjay Nirupam

Why did you say that for Vinod Rai, it was not enough to tender an apology to you in court?

The country has paid a heavy price for believing in the lies manufactured by Rai and spread by the media. Where is the Jan Lokpal today? Even Kejriwal did not appoint a Jan Lokpal in Delhi.

That is why an apology to me is not enough. Vinod Rai will have to tender an unconditional apology to the nation and to Manmohan Singh Ji also.

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