The government today expressed dissatisfaction over the working of the Comptroller and Auditor General, saying their timely intervention could have prevented many scams and scandals.
“Scandals and scams are known even when they are being planned and executed. If audit draws attention to them forthwith in a well-published manner, such scandals can be halted mid-stride. Post-mortems are good but they can be conducted only when a patient is dead,” law minister Mr Veerappa Moily said at the 5th annual convention of Central Information Commission here.
Mr Moily said the institution of Comptroller and Auditor General, a Constitutional body itself designed to be a bulwark against omission and commissions of the Executive under the supervision of the Legislature, has not fulfilled for what it was conceptualised by the Constitution makers.
“…But the way the institution has functioned has not exactly fulfilled what the Indian Constitution makers had in mind while creating the institution. Though it does not carry any independent clout, observation of audit carries no disagreeable consequences either,” the minister said.
Mr Moily also took the opportunity to criticise bureaucrats who retire from service and make “discrediting” remarks about the country when they were abroad.
“When few top officials who could have made a difference in office… having failed to do so, become saints after retirement. When I was abroad recently, I came across the comments of a retired bureaucrat who said in a media interview that every third Indian is corrupt,” he said.
Terming such remarks as “travesty of truth”, Mr Moily, without naming the senior retired official, said, “No one has the right to discredit our nation”.
He urged Department of Personnel and Training authorities to look into such “frustrated statements” made by the former civil servant.
Expressing concern over the killing of RTI activists across the country, he said such acts should be dealt with “iron hands”.
Mr Moily said, “The RTI should not become the casualty of corrupt bureaucrats and others. It is quite disturbing to hear the threat administered to RTI activists.”
“There are instances of attacks on RTI activists. Some of them are Mr Amti Jethwa, an environmentalist from Gujarat, and Mr Satish Shetty, an activist from Maharashtra, have been killed. These attacks and killings have to be taken seriously, dealt with iron hands,” the law minister said.
Later speaking to PTI on the sideline of the function, he said, “If any law is necessary, we will definitely use but law administering authorities in the respective states will have to deal with this strictly and severely.”