By Pradip R Sagar | Express News Service Published: 30th May 2016
NEW DELHI: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has been in South Block for just 18 months, but the 61-year-old has taken several strong measures. In a recent order with a far-reaching impact, Parrikar has not only given protection to a whistleblower, but has also ordered action against officials harassing him.
Prakash Singh, a 53-year-old Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) official, was sacked on the grounds that he was a “perpetual troublemaker”. In reality, Singh had blown the lid off alleged financial irregularities and malpractices in recruitment procedures in the country’s premier defence research agency.
As his series of complaints led to unease, he was sent on compulsory retirement in 2012.
Despite complaining to then defence minister A K Antony, nothing was done. Last year, Singh apprised Parrikar of the root cause of his harassment and held 22 DRDO officials responsible for his persecution. Parrikar then ordered quashing of charges against Singh and action against the officials.
“The case has been examined in the light of advice of CVC (Central Vigilance Commission) and after detailed deliberations, the competent authority has ordered quashing of the charges framed against Prakash Singh,” says a Ministry of Defence order. “Those who trumped up false charges and committed a number of procedural irregularities with the single-minded objective of harassing Prakash Singh need to be identified and taken to task for their malafide action.”
Singh’s complaints of corruption in the agency and 10 DRDO scientists recruiting their family members in the organisation by flouting all norms is being investigated by the CBI.
Prakash Singh’s complaints to CBI, CVC
Laser Science & Technology Centre (LASTEC) failed to utilise the pressure recovery system (PRS), a hi-tech equipment imported from Russia for Rs 16.58 crore. Singh alleged that the equipment was burnt in a “mysterious” fire, but DRDO said that the project was successful.
Highlighted nepotism in DRDO recruitment by senior scientists who “recruited their family members by flouting rules”. During a CBI probe, two scientists were asked to leave on the same grounds