The CGDA has pointed out several infirmities in the grants sanctioned by V.K. Saraswat.
ABHINANDAN MISHRA NEW DELHI | 6th Oct 2012 – The Sunday Gaurdian
he Comptroller General of Defence Audit (CGDA) has raised questions about certain research grants and aids given by the Defence Minister’s Scientific Adviser, V.K. Saraswat, to undeserving societies headed by scientists. These questions have been raised during an audit of the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO), ordered by the Ministry of Defence. The projects are all part of the DRDO.
According to the report, Saraswat, the scientific adviser, sanctioned a grant of Rs 288 lakh to Professor V.U. Reddy of C.R. Rao Advanced Institute of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science (AIMSCS), Hyderabad for a project on a futuristic radar.
The CGDA has pointed out several infirmities in this sanction. Since Saraswat is the president of the society’s governing body, it was wrong on his part to sanction any grants to the society. More importantly, the society is known for its achievements in mathematics, statistics and computer science and “is not even generally connected with research relating to futuristic radars”. The society also does not have the necessary equipment to carry out such research and did not have the expert manpower when it was given the grant.
The DRDO sanctioned another grant-in-aid project costing Rs 298.17 lakh to another scientist from the same society, S.B. Ra, who is a co-principal investigator for the above project. The CGDA has questioned the sanctioning of large grants-in-aid to institutes that do not have the required number of researchers or even basic facilities like computers.
The audit has also questioned the way various DRDO chairs are being given to ex-DRDO employees. S.K. Salwan, an ex-laboratory director, was appointed to the Dr B.D. Nag Chaudhari DRDO chair for three years at a cost of Rs 83.064 lakh. Kota Harinarayana, former director of Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), a DRDO sponsored society, was awarded the Dr D.S. Kothari-DRDO chair for three years at a cost of Rs 83.064 lakh.
As per the audit, no public notice was issued seeking applications for these highly paid positions. The appointment was made by DG, DRDO in a discretionary manner on the basis of nomination. Further, instead of paying a monthly remuneration, the DRDO released a sum of Rs 27.688 lakh each to both of them without deducting tax at source.
The grant to S.K. Salwan was released even before he joined the Dr B.D. Nag Chaudhari DRDO chair. The audit has recommended appropriate recoveries. It has further questioned the rationale behind leaving the ownership of intellectual property rights generated by research performed under this grant with the experts and not with the government.