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Will government order impartial probe in Essar Tapes case: Congress

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Keeping up its offensive over the ‘telecom scam’, Congress Friday alleged that conduct of the Modi government and its ministers has “come under a cloud” in the wake of their “lame duck” reaction to the Rs 45,000 crore scandal in the sector.

The party also raked up the Essar Tapes issue wondering as to what connection it has with the telecom scam and whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi would order an impartial judicial investigation in the case.

“To hide one lie, Modi government is resorting to telling 100 more. Government issued a lame duck reaction to the Rs 45,000 crore plus ‘Telecom Scam’ seeking to put a conspiratorial lid on the entire issue,” party’s chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala told reporters.

Targeting Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was Telecom Minister till earlier this week, he claimed “smokescreens put up by Telecom Ministry raise serious doubts about their complicity in the shoddily handled ‘cover-up exercise’.”

Seeking to dismiss the claim of the Telecom Ministry and Prasad that CAG report was received only last month, he noted that the report was tabled in Parliament on March 11.

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“Neither the ministry nor the minister denied the important fact that Telecom Ministry was conducting a special audit through empanelled chartered accountants, over and above the CAG audit,” he said.

He also targeted Prasad for attempting to justify the “bungling” by insisting that there is no under-reporting of income by the six telecom companies for subsequent years from 2010-11 to 2015-16.

“How can the minister get this enlightenment qua no underreporting of income by telecom companies without even an audit conducted by CAG,” he asked.

The telecom companies named by Surjewala are Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance, Idea, Tata and Aircel.

“Does it not show that Modi government is not interested in getting an audit conducted through CAG for the years 2010-11 to 2015-16 for recovery of dues of nearly Rs 33,000 crore that may accrue to public exchequer, Surjewala said, raising a number of questions.

“What connection, if any, under-reporting/non-disclosure of income by telecom companies has with ‘Essar Tapes’, which purportedly contain conversation relating to telecom sector and favours extended? Would the Prime Minister conduct an impartial judicial investigation into ‘Essar Tapes’ based on the representation submitted by the whistleblower,” he asked.

[Source:indianexpress]