Kolkata, Feb 2 (PTI) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday labelled the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on government funds usage as "full of wrong info" and said she had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address the concerns regarding the report's inaccuracies.
The BJP had seized upon the findings of the CAG report on Wednesday, alleging a staggering "mother of all scams" totaling approximately Rs 2 lakh-crore in the Trinamool Congress-governed state.
Dismissing the CAG report, which the BJP has used to spotlight corruption in West Bengal, Banerjee asserted it as "replete with falsehoods and inaccuracies," further emphasising that she had formally communicated her concerns to Modi.
"I have written to the prime minister, urging him to investigate the matter. We have meticulously submitted all utilisation certificates. Therefore, it is confounding to hear claims that such documentation was not provided. It is alarming that the CAG office could make such erroneous assertions," she said.
Banerjee made these remarks during a dharna, which she initiated on Friday afternoon to demand the release of the state's outstanding dues from the Centre for various social welfare schemes.
"We have provided utilisation certificates for the expenditure of central funds since we assumed power in 2011. Why should we be held accountable for actions predating our tenure, particularly during the Left rule?" Banerjee questioned.
In her letter to the prime minister, Banerjee criticised the CAG report for its lack of due diligence and failure to adhere to procedural norms for the submission of utilisation certificates.
"Such erroneous reports give a misleading picture and are unfortunately being used by some people for the false propaganda against the state administrative machinery," she said.
"Further, the audit report seems to be covering the period from 2002-03 to 2020-2. However, the C&AG audit is conducted every year and it is not clear as to why this was not raised over the last 20 years," she wrote.
Appealing to Modi for intervention in releasing the funds, Banerjee asserted that the state should not be deprived of its rightful share of funds based on unfounded and erroneous premises.
The BJP, citing the CAG report, alleged that over 2.4 lakh utilisation certificates, necessary for completed projects within specified timeframes, were not submitted by the state government, involving a total amount of approximately Rs 1.95 lakh-crore.
Commenting on the BJP government's interim budget, Banerjee remarked, "It is not an interim budget but the 'final' budget of the BJP government at the Centre." "They have slashed subsidies. With food inflation at 10%, it is at its peak. There are no provisions for farmers or impoverished individuals. The masses will respond fittingly," she added.
Banerjee said she would remain at the dharna venue for the next two days, noting her upcoming trip to New Delhi for a meeting on "One Nation, One Election," while also criticising the BJP's purported agenda to transition the country towards a presidential form of government.
"How can a diverse country like India adopt a one-election model when many state assemblies still have active terms? This notion is absurd. The BJP aims to steer the country toward a presidential system," she concluded.
Banerjee is likely to leave for New Delhi on Tuesday night. PTI PNT MNB