In a damning allegation that indicts former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the national loot under the biggest scams to have hit the nation, ex-CAG Vinod Rai claimed that Singh, often referred to as the "puppet PM", knew exactly what was happening in his government.
Singh was fully aware but did nothing to stop irregular allocations of coal blocks and 2G spectrums that resulted in gigantic losses to the exchequer, Rai told news channel TIMES NOW on Thursday. The former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had revealed in 2010 that the loss from the 2G scam was a staggering ₹1.76 lakh crore.
"The buck stops at the PM's desk in any parliamentary democracy. He is the CEO of the country. He can stop, or he can initiate, both, but he probably chose not to stop," said Rai, bursting the bubble of defence that Singh had used claiming he was not fully aware of the illicit goings-on in the ministries.
Rai's revelations come a little ahead of the release of his book, "Not Just an Accountant", casting slight aspersions on whether this interview could be a publicity stunt. But the fact of the matter remains – that the "silent" PM was complicit in the 2G and Coalgate scams, apart from several other scams, and could be guilty of causing immense loss to the nation, not to mention his own party.
It is not just Rai who has damned the former PM and his government; former commerce minister Kamal Nath also told the channel that Singh had been cautioned about improper allocations of 2G spectrum.
"I wrote to the Prime Minister that I am hearing all sorts of things are going on in 2G allocation. The PM chose to do nothing," Nath said.
Rai further opened the can of worms in an interview with Outlook magazine, in which he said that former telecom minister A Raja had written letters to Singh about 2G allocations and that the PM had replied to him.
"In 2G and coal there is no way he (Singh) can shirk responsibility. He was replying to Raja twice a day. So how can he be not held responsible for the onus of that decision?" Rai claimed, adding that the irregularities in 2G allocations went further back to former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran himself.
Bringing down Singh's shield that the scams happened due to compulsions of coalition polictics, Rai said in his attack on the former's integrity that, "You cannot sacrifice everything at the altar of trying to ensure the coalition remains in power. You cannot have the nation being subjugated to the state; and the state being a coalition of political parties."
Rai also went on to say that he was "100%" sure his phone was being tapped when he was in the CAG office.
Rai also targeted other Congress leaders, such as Sanjay Nirupam, Ashwani Kumar and Sandeep Dikshit, who allegedly pressurized him to keep the PM's name out of his tell-tale reports.