Former comptroller and auditor general Rajiv Mehrishi
NEW DELHI: Rising tensions with Pakistan led to the comptroller and auditor general (CAG) deciding not to put defence audit reports on its website, former comptroller and auditor general Rajiv Mehrishi said in an interaction with TOI a day before he demitted office.
Mehrishi said it was decided that certain defence reports and also any future defence-related audit findings would not be put up in view of tensions with neighbouring countries. “There was a lot of tension with Pakistan when we had tabled our report about shortage of ammunition. Though we submit our report before Parliament and the public accounts committee, it should not be easily accessible to Pakistan or China,” Mehrishi said. He cautioned the media to be careful in reporting on such issues as that adversely affects national security.
Mehrishi retired on Friday after a three-year stint as CAG and has been succeeded by former lieutenant governor of Jammu & Kashmir G C Murmu. Before being appointed as the CAG, Merishi served as finance secretary and was later appointed the home secretary for a two-year fixed tenure, just a day before his superannuation.
He said that all CAG reports, including those on defence services, are submitted before Parliament and to the PAC for scrutiny and available to all stakeholders, except that “we stopped making it a public document” where even a hostile country can access it. Even if these findings are extensively reported in the media, documented analytical findings like the CAG report should not be easily available, he explained.
“We also share copies of the defence reports with the media and expect the Press to be responsible in reporting, taking utmost care in writing about exact details of defence preparedness, whether related to arms or ammunition,” the former CAG said.
Murmu, who was given the oath of office on Saturday by the President, also served as a secretary in the finance ministry and held important positions in the expenditure department and oversaw the implementation of the goods and services tax as additional secretary.