CAG report controversy: Opposition demands Isaac's resignation, Cong writes to speaker
Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], November 17 (ANI): On a day Kerala Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac alleged the Centre added four pages, which argued that Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) loans should not be allowed, to a CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General of India) report, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala on Tuesday wrote to the Assembly speaker, demanding action against the minister for "violating" the Constitution by disclosing the report in public before tabling it in the Assembly.
Demanding his resignation, both Chennithala and BJP state president K Surendran alleged that Isaac has violated the constitutional norms and his oath of secrecy by leaking the final CAG report in a press meet, saying it's a draft audit report, before tabling it in the Kerala Assembly.
"I have given a letter to the Kerala speaker demanding action against the violation by Finance Minister Thomas Isaac. We are demanding his immediate resignation," said Chennithala.
The CAG made it clear that it's a final report and the finance minister violated all procedures, Chennithala added.
Describing the due procedures he said, "The final report of the CAG is sent to the finance secretary who in a sealed cover sends it to the governor. Once approved by the governor, the FM tables it in the Assembly. This is the process followed. But the Kerala FM has subverted all this and has leaked the CAG report by saying it's a draft. No Finance Minister in the country has done such a blatant violation," he said.
In the last government, he was chairman of the Public Accounts Committee and he is well aware of due procedures to be followed, Chennithala said.
He also alleged whenever the Opposition brings out corruption issues, the ruling CPI(M) raises baseless allegations that there is an understanding between the Congress and BJP. "The Opposition had raised serious concerns regarding "masala bond" as part of KIIFB. Like Lavlin case, a huge commission was being taken in the "masala bond" too. When the CAG found the corruption, the FM turned against it," alleged Chennithala.
He said that the Opposition is not against big projects but there should be proper auditing. "In Kerala, the government is opposing all investigations and audits. Is Kerala not part of India? How can this be possible? If the government has nothing to hide then why is it afraid of investigations and audits," he asked.
Meanwhile, BJP state president Surendran said that Finance Minister Isaac purposefully leaked and shared the CAG audit report. "We urge the chief minister to drop him from the Cabinet. He's trying to create a Centre-state divide," said Surendran, adding that Isaac has admitted that it was CAG's final report. "He has to explain why he misled the public?"
On the controversy regarding KIIFB loans, he said to borrow money from a foreign country, permission from the central government is needed. "It is not clear why to borrow from KIIFB at 9.37 per cent interest rate when it is possible to avail loan domestically at 6 per cent interest. The KIIFB's activity violates all terms and conditions," he added. (ANI)