Centre submits action taken report on NTRO scam to SC
NEW DELHI: The Union government on Monday submitted in sealed cover to the Supreme Court an action taken report (ATR) on the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) findings about alleged irregularities in purchase of intelligence equipment by the National Technical Research Organization (NTRO).
Additional solicitor general Harin Raval submitted the ATR. Adjourning the matter to April 9, a bench of Justices H L Dattu and C K Prasad said, “If we are convinced (after perusing the report) there is some positive steps taken, we will not go ahead with hearing of the case. But if we feel it is merely eyewash, we will then call upon those responsible.”
PIL petitioner V K 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 was set up in 2004 and 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 who had also served in NTRO, that the PMO had ordered a probe into the scam. Later, the CAG was asked to look into the organization’s accounts. The government had alleged that Mittal wanted to head the NTRO and filed the PIL when he did not succeed.
Mittal’s petition stated that the independent body answerable only to the national security adviser was allotted about Rs 8,000 crore since 2005, but no book of accounts were maintained for the expenses.