CAG rejects CVC’s request to make it part of exit interviews | India News

NEW DELHI: The comptroller and auditor general (CAG) has denied a request from the central vigilance commission (CVC), the apex anti-corruption watchdog, to involve the latter in all exit interviews with auditees at the point of concluding its reports. The supreme auditor has cited parliamentary privilege as reason for not sharing any details of its findings before they are tabled in both the Houses of Parliament.
Sources said the CVC had recently written to the federal auditor emphasising its preventive vigilance role as the anti-corruption watchdog while seeking access to such exclusive exit conferences. The CVC also monitors and recommends multi-agency probes on complaints of irregularities and corruption in central procurements and contract management.
The exit interviews are a stage where the CAG summons senior officials of government ministries and departments for responding to findings of the auditor with respect to irregularities. All responses, along with the auditor’s comments, are recorded in the audit report for further action to be taken by the government departments.
The CAG has, however, cited its responsibility of sharing its reports first with the President and on his acceptance tabling in Parliament before they are made public.
As part of its new initiative of systemic improvement, the CVC had recently asked chief vigilance officers (CVOs) of public sector undertakings to participate in these exit interviews, where “conclusion and recommendations are discussed with the head of the concerned entity” and their responses are recorded.
Involvement of CVO might provide a direct linkage between the vigilance branch and CAG audit outcome and give an early start in vigilance investigation of the matter by the vigilance department,” the CVC has noted.
The CVC had also taken this up with the secretary, expenditure and secretary, department of public enterprises, besides the CAG.
Though many of the CAG reports in the recent past have become part of investigation taken up by the CBI and other agencies, formally there has never been a practice of involving any external agency in the finalisation of its audit reports other than the auditee. All CAG reports are taken up by the investigative agency for probe only after they are tabled in Parliament.

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