SC asks for a copy of CAG report on NTRO scam

Discussion in 'Internal Security' started by ejazr, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,518
    Likes Received:
    1,378
    Location:
    Hyderabad and Sydney
    SC asks for a copy of CAG report on NTRO scam - The Times of India

    NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday asked for a copy of the Comptroller and Auditor General's report pointing out alleged irregularities in the purchase of intelligence equipment by National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), which was set up in 2004 to provide critical data relating to threats to the nation.

    Solicitor general R F Nariman assured a bench of Justices H L Dattu and C K Prasad that the government had already initiated action against erring officials on the basis of the CAG report but petitioner V K Mittal's counsel Jayant Bhushan wondered why the Centre was shy of bringing the alleged irregularities into the open by placing the report in Parliament.

    The bench asked Nariman to produce the CAG report on NTRO scam in a sealed cover by March 19. This is the second time within a year that the apex court has asked for a CAG report, the first being on the irregularities in the allotment of 2G spectrum and licences during A Raja's tenure as telecom minister.

    Nariman was belligerent in trashing Mittal's PIL, not only accusing the latter of attempting to serve a personal interest but also alleging that his correspondence with the authorities revealing top secret projects with their location could help countries inimical to India.

    Bhushan countered Nariman by alleging that the government was deliberately keeping the matter under wraps in the name of security to shield the culprits. But the bench said, "It is not a case where the government has put the issue in cold storage but promised that it was being looked into. We will not pass an order but request the SG to produce the CAG report in a sealed cover on March 19."

    Mittal had alleged that a major portion of the Rs 450 crore NTRO scam pertained to purchase of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from an Israeli firm allegedly at a very high price without the mandatory approval of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).

    NTRO, which functions under the Prime Minister's Office, has been entrusted with the task of missile monitoring, satellite and airborne imagery, cyber patrolling and security, cyber offensive operations and communication support systems including cryptology.

    It was on the complaint of Mittal, a former joint director in the government of India who had also served in NTRO, that the PMO had ordered a probe into the scam and later, CAG was asked to look into the organisation's accounts. Nariman alleged that Mittal wanted to head the NTRO and filed the PIL when he did not succeed.

    During the last hearing, Bhushan had alleged that Delhi High Court had dismissed Mittal's writ petition on April 6, 2011 after the Centre filed a probe status report in sealed cover assuring prompt action against the guilty officials. However, no action was taken till date, he claimed.

    Mittal's petition stated that the independent body answerable only to the national security adviser was allotted approximately Rs 8,000 crore since 2005, but there was no accounting of the spending.
     
  2.  
  3. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,518
    Likes Received:
    1,378
    Location:
    Hyderabad and Sydney
    For those who want to know the background on this scam that has conveniently left the spotlight.

    CAG nails RAW arm in Rs 450-cr UAV purchase scam - Rediff.com India News
    The comptroller and auditor general has unearthed a Rs 450-crore scam involving the purchase of Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles by the Hyderabad-based National Technical Research Organisation, a technical arm of the external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing.

    In the first-ever audit of any intelligence agency in India [ Images ], it was found that these UAVs were lying as junk. The CAG said that this was a major concern of accountability.

    Efforts were mounted to prevent the probe sought by the CAG on the basis of a complaint from a whistle-blower, but Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh [ Images ] allowed the inquiry overruling all objections. He felt such a serious charge on an agency providing technical intelligence capabilities to the country with a huge budget to fight cyber piracy is too serious to be overlooked, said insiders.
    .
    .
    .
    The then national security adviser M K Narayanan, who is now the West Bengal [ Images ] governor, had tried to scuttle the inquiry the CAG wanted to carry out in December 2009 on the complaint by a whistle-blower. Narayanan pointed out that intelligence agencies were not brought under the scanner to maintain secrecy. The NTRO reports directly to the NSA and the R&AW chief, and hence Narayanan's refusal of permission meant a dead end.

    The CAG, however, felt the tip-off was too serious to be ignored and hence approached the prime minister who overruled Narayanan's objections and allowed the CAG sleuths to get cracking in January last year. NTRO chairman KVSS Prasada Rao, a scientist who retired last October, and its current adviser M S Vijayaraghavan, have been indicted in the CAG report. Rao had also served in the space department and the Defence Research and Development Organisation earlier.

    As part of the inquiry ordered by the PMO, some major generals who were on deputation to the NTRO, as also some senior finance officials involved in the deal, are being questioned. Once this internal inquiry is over, the government may hand over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation, sources said.

    The CAG has noted that the UAVs are lying grounded as the satellite link purchased was not meant for dedicated transmission and the military personnel in the NTRO objected to launching them, as it would allow any person to download sensitive data.

    The decision by the NTRO top brass not to include the satellite link and electronic intelligence equipment in the proposal put before the CCS is itself intriguing as without them the UAVs could be nothing more than electronic-controlled toy aircraft.
    The CAG has faulted NTRO officials engaged in the dubious purchase for taking the Israeli vendor on his word that the "satellite link was successfully tested in Australia"
     
  4. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Messages:
    6,359
    Likes Received:
    3,661
    Location:
    New Delhi
    Secrecy and other such words cannot be a shield for pursuing cases against the guilty. Kudos to MMS for allowing the enquiry to go through, but it seems that the section of the official machinery is keen that the probe remains stalled.
     

Share This Page