The letter of dissent given by PAC member Nishikant Dubey of the BJP simply reads: “I do not agree with the reports.” Senior Congress leader K V Thomas, who heads the PAC, declined to comment on the matter.
When contacted, Dubey said he dissented because he did not agree with the conclusions of the report, which blames the NDA government for the “lapses”, whereas, Dubey said, the matter pertains to a period when the UPA was in power. With Dubey’s dissent note, the reports cannot be adopted as consensus is mandatory for the PAC to adopt any report.
The PAC draft report on Coast Guards said the committee was “dismayed” to note that though an in-principle approval was given in 2012 for setting up an Indian Coast Guard Academy at Azhikkal in Kerala, it has seen “minimum progress”.
On allopathic drugs, the draft report says, “The committee is perturbed to note that the ministry has furnished an evasive reply, which merely states that the views of the committee are noted. Keeping in view the glaring lapses in procurement and distribution of drugs resulting in huge infructious and avoidable expenditure, the committee deplores the skewed approach of the ministry.”
Dubey said the committee was only examining action-taken reports and was making such “damning” remarks against the present government “though the wrongs have been committed during the UPA period”.
Differences between Dubey and the PAC chairman have been building up for some time now. At a PAC meeting on July 12, BJP and Congress members had differed on the constitution of a crucial sub-committee on defence, which was to examine CAG reports on irregularities in a number of defence deals, including Agusta Westland. While BJP wanted the convenorship, Thomas, insisting it was his prerogative, chose to make Congress leader Shantaram Naik the head of the sub-committee. Angered by the decision, Dubey had then said that BJP members would write to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan against the decision.
Dubey also wanted Thomas to call the chairmen of telecom companies instead of its chief executive officers during the examination of the CAG report that had said that Reliance Communications, Tata Tele Services, Vodafone, Airtel, Idea and Aircel under-reported their adjusted gross revenue by Rs 46,045.75 crore, leading to a loss of Rs 12,488.93 crore to the exchequer from 2006 to 2010. Thomas didn’t accept Dubey’s demand, saying it was against the established practice.