CAG indicts Army Chief for misusing special financial powers

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New Delhi, Mar 14 (UNI) The CAG has indicted the then Northern Command chief for procuring stores worth crores of rupees during 2005-06 and 2006-07 by ''wrongly exercising financial powers'' delegated to him for meeting special operational requirements.

Incidentally, the post of the head of the prestigious Udhampur-based Northern Command during most of the period cited by the CAG was held by present Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor.

In his report on Defence Services for the year ended March 2007, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India said the Northern Command General Officer-in-Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C) procured items worth Rs 6.89 crore during 2005-06 and 2006-07.

He said these stores were purchased under delegated special financial powers, which were not related to the urgent requirements of counter-insurgency operations, internal security duties, defence of Siachen glacier and other immediate operational requirements.

Most of the items procured were only to facilitate day-to-day routine duties of the Army, the CAG added.

The report said the release and usage pattern of these equipment further underscore the fact that bulk of the stores were issued to the units which were not directly and actively engaged in operations of the kind.

The Northern Command headquarters stated in July 2007 that these items were procured to save time and manpower, to maintain hygienic condition of food, and for safety and security of the troops deployed in counter-insurgency operations, it added.

''The reply is not tenable as the same cannot be related to operational requirements directly,'' the CAG said.

Thus, the sanction accorded by the GOC-in-C for procurement of non-standard items under special financial powers were irregular and tantamount to misuse of delegated powers, he added.

The IFAs concerned also had failed to give proper financial advice and allowed such expenditure on the pretext of immediate special operational requirements, the CAG said.

Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor was the Northern Command GOC-in-C from September 5, 2005 to December 31, 2006. He became the Vice Chief on January 1, 2007 and later took over as the Army Chief on September 30, 2007.

The Defence Ministry had delegated similar special financial Powers to the GOC-in-Cs of various commands in April 2002.

The purpose of special delegation was to facilitate the Procurement of equipment/spares/items to supplement the availability of these through central sources to obviate non-availability becoming a constraint particularly in counter-insurgency, internal security duties, defence of Siachen glacier and other immediate operational requirements, the CAG said.

UNI AG RL GC1731

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