Union Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal on Friday said the Rs 1.76 lakh crore loss during 2G spectrum allocation as stated in a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report was a 'myth'.
His statement comes after former director general of CAG RP Singh that the agency´s 2G report was audited without guidelines and influenced by Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Murli Manohar Joshi.
"I don´t want to comment on the PAC. All I want to say is truth always surfaces. Now it´s for the country to see," Sibal told reporters.
"The sum of Rs 1.76 lakh crore loss on 2G was a myth. Truth always comes out," he said.
Meanwhile, Joshi negated the charges and said they were baseless and the government was trying to defame institutions like CAG.
"All these allegations are baseless," Joshi told media.
"Why didn´t RP Singh take up this matter while he was in CAG?" he said.
He said it is a ´conspiracy to malign institution´ like the CAG.
Slamming the government, Joshi said: "The government is trying to cover up all the corrupt practices through the particular campaign."
RP Singh´s comments erupted a political storm on Friday.
Reacting to the issue, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari told reporters: "What is extremely important is that (in) May 2010, when the draft report is prepared by R.P. Singh, the loss is quantified at Rs.20,645 crore."
"But in November 2010, when the report is presented before the Parliament then the loss jumps to Rs.1 lakh 76 thousand crore," he said.
"Former CAG officer R.P. Singh has levelled a serious allegation. Joshi should clear his stand," Tewari said.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said, "This matter will be discussed in Parliament today. Many members have called me that they want an investigation. It´s a serious matter."
Singh has disowned the agency´s 2G report and said he was merely asked to sign on it.
"This loss figure (of Rs 1.76 lakh crore) did appear before me in a draft audit report submitted by my field office. I carried out discussion with them. I asked for the supporting documents, on what basis they are saying these are the losses. They said, ´we are taking it as presumption´. I said in performance audit there is nothing called presumption loss. So I deleted this figure and while forwarding my version of report, I clearly mentioned why I am deleting these figures. It seems that at the time of examination in CAG office, these loss figures were restored," Singh told a news channel.
Touted to be the biggest corruption scandal of independent India, the 2G scam, allegedly masterminded by former telecom minister A Raja, pertains to a biased distribution of mobile airwaves and operating licenses, in lieu of kickbacks, to telcos that could have cost the treasury up to Rs 1.76 lakh crore in lost revenue, according to the government´s auditors CAG.
The court on May 15 granted bail to Raja who was languishing in the Tihar jail for 15 months in the 2G case.