Serious lapses in NTRO equipment buying: CAG
by Danish Raza Mar 12, 2012 First Post
New Delhi: While the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) special audit report of National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO)remains a top secret, the auditing authority has officially admitted it found serious lapses in recruitment of regular employees and procurement of equipment by NTRO.
“We have noticed cases of appointment of ineligible candidates and lack of transparency in recruitment of regular employees in NTRO,” the office of the Directorate General of Audit (central expenditure), an arm of CAG, said in response to RTI application filed by V.K. Mittal
The findings of NTRO audit have not been made public.The report has not been placed before the Parliament. The agency is a highly specialised technical intelligence gathering agency.
Responding to a query on the types of irregularities which were detected in procurement of systems/ equipment, the auditing body said, “We have noticed lack of transparency and non- compliance of rules in procurement of systems/ equipment and deficient procurement management resulting in cases of excess payment/ wasteful expenditure to exchequer.”
According to the RTI reply dated February 29, 2012, a copy of which is with Firstpost, CAG has also noticed instances of misuse of official position. CAG has also informed Mittal that neither NTRO nor the National Security Advisor (NSA) has filed any action taken report based on special audit report- a first for any intelligence agency in India.
In other words, NSA received the audit report but took no action based on its findings.
“The fact that the CAG has detected bungling in NTRO but nothing was to curb it, calls for greater accountability in NTRO and other similar bodies,” said Mittal.
The NTRO, created in 2004, is a technical intelligence wing of the government of India. It reports directly to the NSA.
Mittal, a former scientist with NTRO and one of the founding members of the organization, exposed a series of irregularities in the purchase of defence equipment in NTRO. He wrote to the NSA and the Prime Minister’s Office about lack of transparency in procuring of equipment, including unmanned aerial vehicles, by the NTRO.
Last year, Mittal filed a petition in Delhi High Court on the issue. The High Court refused to interfere in the matter directing the CAG to proceed in accordance with law.
Mittal then moved Supreme Court which, in August last year, issued notices to the PMO, Central Vigilance Commission, NTRO and CAG.
In the next hearing on March 19, the government has to submit the auditor’s report in the Supreme Court before the bench of justice H L Dattu and C K Prasad.