‘News reports do not reflect spirit of my speech’

SansadTV Bureau

File Photo ( PTI )

Under attack over his remarks that official auditor should not “sensationalise” its audit findings, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said that media did not accurately reflect the spirit of his speech at the CAG conference.

“News reports of my speech at the CAG conference do not accurately reflect the spirit of my speech,” Jaitley said in a Facebook post.

Jaitley in his speech had said the government auditor should not sensationalise its findings to get into headlines.

“Auditor should be conscious of the fact that he is reviewing a decision that has already been taken. Have the fair procedures been followed?

“He doesn’t have to sensationalise. He doesn’t have to get into the headlines,” he had said.

Congress on Thursday slammed Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for his remarks that CAG should not sensationalise its report, saying it amounts to threatening the government auditor and wondered if the ruling dispensation feels it could be targeted on its reports like the UPA was.

Congress leader Digvijay Singh on Thursday took a dig at Jaitley for asking the CAG not to sensationalise its findings to get into headlines.

“CAG should not sensationalise its findings,”- Arun Jaitley. Wish he had realised this when 2G and coal block CAG reports came!”, the Congress General Secretary said on Twitter.

Ajay Maken, general secretary and in-charge of media communication, questioned why Jaitley did not say the same when his party, BJP, stalled Parliament over reports on 2G spectrum and coal block allocations during UPA rule.

Accusing the government of “misleading and hoodwinking” the country, Maken said Congress “strongly condemns” the statement of Jaitley in which he said the CAG should not sensationalise its report.

Condemning “this kind of threat” to the CAG, he questioned why Jaitley had not made similar observations when the CAG was holding press conferences and giving power point presentations on its reports during the UPA tenure.

Maken questioned, “Why this sudden change of heart and u-turn? Is it because of the CAG report on Gujarat which talks about irregularities worth Rs 25,000 crore in land affairs when (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi was the CM?…Now do Arun Jaitley and Modi feel that opposition would use against them CAG reports, based on which they had stalled Parliament for

“CAG should not sensationalize its findings,”- Arun Jaitley. Wish he had realised this when 2G and Coal Block CAG Report came!”, he tweeted.

Maken said Congress does not see the statement of the Finance Minister yesterday as “just a one-off incident” or as “one chapter” but “as one sequence”.

In this context, the Congress leader recalled Narendra Modi’s address to Gujarat Assembly on May 21 before he was sworn-in as Prime Minister.

“He (Modi) said CAG report must not be used to target opponents. He did this after the election results were out…. Modi says CAG report should not be used to target opposition. Finance Minister says CAG report should not be sensationalised,” he said.

Maken said that since the BJP government came five months ago, “there would have been probably not a single day when they (government) did not make a U-turn on a particular issue.

We often think that they government will at least stick to its stand on other issues when one issue settles.”

Taking a dig at the government, Maken said done a “U-turn” on number of issues like Anderson report (on 1962 India-China war), insurance legislation, GST, double taxation agreement and even black money.

“And now the latest is the on the CAG report over which we are surprised,” he added.

Jaitley had insisted that an auditor has to be “an active auditor but activism and restraint are always the two sides of the same coin.”