Dec 6, 2011

CAG uncovers irregularities in NTRO's audit

The Centre has failed to inform the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) about the action taken against severe irregularities pointed out during a special audit of the national technical research organisation (NTRO). This despite the fact that the report was presented to the PMO in April this year.

Sources in the directorate general of audit (central expenditure) confirmed that no action taken report (ATR) was submitted to the department either by the NTRO or the PMO, which oversees the premier technical intelligence outfit's affairs.

"The CAG had discovered misuse of official position and irregularities in procurement of equipment and appointments of the contractual staff. The severe indictment of the authorities could be the reason for the delay," the sources added.

The NTRO has been facing serious allegation of irregularities. In September, RAW chief Sanjeev Tripathi had turned down national security adviser Shiv Shankar Menon's request to probe the NTRO scam allegations.

Government sources said the RAW chief refused to probe the issues further since he did not want to fish in the troubled waters.

"The NTRO case is already in the Supreme Court and, being the RAW chief, he would like to avoid any controversy," the sources added.

This government exercise was widely perceived as a message demonstrating its seriousness to act against those involved in the biggest intelligence scam.

The charges against the NTRO include procurement of sub-standard systems for the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The complaint also pointed out financial irregularities in the procurement of COMINT and SATCOM systems, payloads for UAV and monitoring system for packet switch networks.

Since the NTRO reports to the NSA, Menon was apprised of the irregularities in hiring contractual staff in violation of the laid down rules and regulations.

Nine of the 11 joint secretary-level posts were held by contractual employees. In some cases, the JS-level officers were allowed to continue on contract basis even after the CCA rejected their cases.

The NTRO was founded in 2004 to fill the vital security gaps in the national security apparatus.
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