Defence ministry report slams DRDO chief
14 Aug 2012Hindustan Times (Bhopal)
NEW DELHI: Defence Research and Development Organisation chief VK Saraswat sanctioned R2.8 crore to a mathematical society headed by him, an audit report has revealed. The report prepared by the defence ministry’s finance wing has also dealt with issues of transparency and shortcomings in projects developed by the organisation.
Defence ministry audit questions DRDO functioning
New Delhi: An internal audit report ordered by the defence ministry raised questions over the functioning of the DRDO and the grant of Rs 2.8 crore by its chief VK Saraswat to a society under him.
The report prepared by the finance wing of the defence ministry raised several issues in its review and the transparency of the research agency with a budget of over Rs 5,000 crore, defence sources said in New Delhi.
The report has questioned the grant of Rs 2.8 crore by Saraswat to a mathematical society.
The report has also pointed out that to avoid seeking approvals from the competent financial authorities, the DRDO was splitting the sanctions for its projects, they said.
It has also cited shortcomings in the products developed by the DRDO such as the Arjun tank, which has been found to be overweight by the Army for operations in certain areas along the border.
However, the DRDO said the issues raised in the report “are essentially in the nature of preliminary observations” and it was “vitiated by a faulty audit process”.
“Such preliminary observations are required to be formally issued and replies to the same should be sought prior to compilation of any report. Only if the replies are not satisfactory is the next step of making a preliminary report taken.
“In the extant case, the laid down procedure was not followed and to that extent, the process of audit stands vitiated. Thus, even before seeking replies of DRDO, presumption and baseless conclusions appear to have been arrived at,” DRDO spokesperson Ravi Gupta said.
DRDO ‘develops’ blatant financial irregularities
Published: Friday, Aug 17, 2012, 9:00 IST
By Pradip R Sagar | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA
The ministry of defence’s special audit has found blatant irregularities in the Defence Research Development Organisation’s handling of finances.
The special audit report, accessed by the DNA, reveals that financial sanctions are being split so that they do not require approval of higher authorities.
The audit carried out by Comptroller General of Defence Audit on the direction of defence minister AK Antony has found that key projects costing over Rs300 crore were tweaked by the DRDO to get them sanctioned without approaching the concerned financial authorities.
“DRDO authorities have sometimes used delegated powers to sanction supposedly new projects to complete the work taken up under ongoing projects, instead of going to the concerned financial authority for revision of cost of the old projects,” the audit report claims.
For instance, programme for development of main battle tank Arjun was sanctioned at Rs69.99 crore in November 2010. But the DRDO authorities changed the entire programme and split it into smaller sub-heads and several procurements were sanctioned under ‘build-up’ so that higher authorities within the system could be avoided. This shows that a coordinated attempt to avoid going to higher financial authorities, which is contrary to financial regulations,” the auditors observed.
Similarly, despite having a comprehensive five-year programme sanctioned for human performance enhancement in May 2009 at a cost of Rs34.56 crore, the director of Defence Institute of Physiology & Allied Sciences (DIPAS-DRDO), has managed to get approval for additional projects over the already sanctioned project. Such practice defeats the very purpose of making projects/programmes,” the report added.
Another project called ‘Product support and product improvement of NAG weapon system’ was sanctioned at a cost of Rs28.35 crore by VK Saraswat, director general of DRDO, despite the fact that the Cabinet Committee on Security approved similar programme was still in the pipeline.
Audit report also pointed out an unjustified cost reduction by DG, DRDO for a project for design and development of electro-optical sensors for air-borne platforms (UAV and Aerostat) at a cost of Rs49.82 crore.
“Director General, DRDO has reduced the cost from Rs70 crore as proposed to Rs49.82 crore so as to bring it just under Rs50 crore, which is his sanctioning power,” the special audit report claims.
Under scrutiny of accounts, the audit also found anomalies in facility for elctro-optical system testing (FACET). “FACET was sanctioned at a cost of Rs35 crore by DG, DRDO to create a facility, which is essentially required to meet the objectives of an already sanctioned project,” the report added.
The audit report also observed several split sanctions were issued for renovation of DRDO Bhawan in New Delhi while an unauthorised sanction of Rs49.15 crore to develop vehicle testing facility in Pune from public accounts mainly for civilian use was granted by the DRDO authorities