New Delhi: A preliminary assessment by the CAG that a loss of Rs 10.67 lakh crore was caused to the nation due to a coal scam rocked the Parliament on Wednesday but the official auditor sought to downplay it by saying it was not the final report and the government was also dismissive. READ MORE: Coal scam: Houses disrupted amid uproar
"It is not a CAG report," Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in the Lok Sabha.
Earlier in the day, the Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying the report cited by the media was "exceedingly misleading" as it was at a "very preliminary stage and does not even constitute our pre-final draft".
Citing this and reading out from the letter in the House, Mukherjee said as per the procedure, a report finalised by the CAG first comes to the Finance Ministry after which it is laid on the table of the House.
His suo motu statement came hours after opposition targeted the government over the alleged scam and ensured that the Parliament did not work till noon.
As soon as the Lok Sabha met for the day, JD-U members were on their feet demanding immediate discussion on the leaked report on allocation of 155 coal acreages between 2004 and 2009 to some 100 companies.
The moment Speaker Meira Kumar called for the Question Hour, BJP and JD-U members trooped into the Well raising slogans against the government.
"Yeh Sarkar Kaali Hai (this government has been tarnished)" the opposition members chanted in the Well.
With members unrelenting, the Speaker adjourned the House till noon.
Similar scenes were witnessed in the Rajya Sabha where Prakash Javadekar (BJP) said he had given notice for suspension of Question Hour to discuss the alleged scam.
"Sorry, the Question Hour cannot be suspended," Chairman Hamid Ansari said.
"You cannot raise the issue without the permission of the Chair," Minister of State in PMO V Narayanasamy said. As members continued to raise the issue and waved copies of a newspaper, Ansari said members cannot raise "unsubstantiated matters".
"No newspapers are allowed. You cannot display banners. Please sit down. You cannot raise matters in this manner. You can raise it later, this is not the time," he told the agitating members. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was present.
Javadekar said the Prime Minister was incharge of coal portfolio when the alleged scam took place.
Amid din, Ansari adjourned the Rajya Sabha for 15 minutes. When the House met again, similar scenes were repeated and the proceedings were adjourned till noon.
After the adjournment, the Speaker had a meeting with leaders of various political parties who assured her that they would allow financial business like debate on Railway Budget and General Budget to take place.
The issue, which has come as a huge embarrassment for the government, also figured during the UPA floor coordination committee meeting held earlier in the day.
As media carried reports of the draft CAG report, the CAG wrote a letter to the Prime Minister this afternoon, excerpts of which were released by the PMO.
"In the extant case the details being brought out were observations which are under discussion at a very preliminary stage and do not even constitute our pre-final draft and hence are exceedingly misleading," the CAG said in the letter.
It said that "pursuant to clarification provided by the Ministry (of Coal) in exit conferences held on February 9, 2012 and March 3, 2012, we have changed our thinking".
"In fact it is not even our case that the unintended benefit to the allocate is an equivalent loss to the exchequer. The leak of the initial draft causes great embarrassment as the audit report is still under preparation. Such leakage causes very deep anguish," the CAG letter said.
New Delhi: A preliminary assessment by the CAG that a loss of Rs 10.67 lakh crore was caused to the nation due to a coal scam rocked the Parliament on Wednesday but the official auditor sought to downplay it by saying it was not the final report and the government was also dismissive.
READ MORE: Coal scam: Houses disrupted amid uproar