The BJP members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Parliament have opposed the panel’s chairman and Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s proposal of examining the government’s handling of the COVID-19 situation, which includes scrutiny of the PM-Cares fund that was set up to tackle the pandemic crisis.
According to NDTV, the members of the parliamentary panel, which scrutinises key reports by the auditor general, on Friday (July 10) failed to arrive at a consensus on examining the government’s response to the crisis. Opposition leaders claim that this was because the BJP does not want a closer look into the PM-Cares fund.
Chowdhury, the panel’s chairman, asked the members to find a consensus on this subject and act with their conscience, the report said. However, the BJP members, in full strength, opposed the proposal. The Opposition didn’t have enough numbers to back their proposal, with DMK leader TR Balu being one of those on their side.
Senior BJP leader Bhupender Yadav blocked the Chowdhury’s attempt to select the fund for scrutiny and said that since the Parliament had not sanctioned its funding, the panel cannot take it up for examination. It may be noted that the PAC is dominated by the members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
The PM-Cares fund is not under the audit of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India. The government had said it will be looked into by “independent” auditors. It is “not a public authority” under the ambit of the RTI Act, 2005, the prime minister’s office had said in reply to a RTI application, while refusing to disclose its details.