The chiefs of three federal agencies — the Central Vigilance Commission, Central Bureau of Investigation and the Comptroller and Auditor General — declared from a common platform that the Indian economy has been served well by their activism.
Speaking at a session on corporate frauds organised by Assocham, Comptroller and Auditor General Shashi Kant Sharma said he was emboldened by the recent Supreme Court ruling that any entity using public resources in its business and sharing revenue with the government can be audited by his officers.
“Work on telecom audit is already in progress and I am hopeful that our first report would be ready before the year end. A report on gas and oil exploration will be presented to Parliament soon. We will be taking up performance audit of some ongoing PPP projects shortly,” he said. According to him the audits are not meant to harass the private firms, but to uphold the constitutional scheme of accountability.
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CBI chief Ranjit Sinha blamed the collective failure of regulatory oversight mechanism for the rise in corporate frauds in recent years. “The scale and size of corporate frauds in India has zoomed in the last 15 years with majority of the cases of frauds involving siphoning off funds by promoters, top management and defrauding the lenders or investors… Commercial banks have reported 1.69 lakh cases of frauds involving an amount of Rs 29,910 crore as on March 31, 2013,” he said.
Due to cheating and forgery, the public sector banks lost Rs 22,743 crore in the three years ending March 2013.
“The regulatory bodies and the investigative agencies like SFIO, Sebi, CBI, the enforcement directorate along with registrar companies … need to interact more frequently at various levels to share the intelligence and the outcome of the investigations,” Sinha said. Some of the key themes of the recently concluded general elections were about corruption and the activist-like roles played especially by CAG and CBI with resultant policy paralysis, but chief vigilance commissioner JM Garg asserted that CVC, CBI and CAG were not responsible for the “policy paralysis” that the UPA-II government was alleged of.
“Three Cs — CAG, CBI and CVC — are representative together. People don’t invite us together. They are taken in the absolutely negative sense and people say that perhaps they are the ones causing policy paralysis in this country. Let me tell you that it is not so,” Garg said while addressing the meet.