Stung by scams, Army plans vigilance set-up for internal audit

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New Delhi, Jan 14 (PTI) Embarrassed by a series of scamsallegedly involving army officers, Army Chief General V KSingh today said he was mulling putting in place a vigilancemechanism that will help the force carry out internal audits.

"One of the things we could have done better is to createsome sort of a vigilance mechanism within the Army. At themoment we do not have this. We are looking at it veryseriously," Singh told a press conference here.

The General said a vigilance mechanism would assist theArmy in carrying out "internal audits at the right time".

The image of the armed forces has been hit due to allegedinvolvement of its officers in a number scams, including thethe Sukhna land scam in Darjeeling and the Adarsh housing scamin Mumbai, in which a finger of suspicion being raised at aformer Army Chief.

"Let me assure you that today we have been taking suomotu action on a lot of issues that happen," he said.

On the involvement of former Army Chief, Singh said thearmy has handed over the matter to the Defence Ministry as itdoes not have the necessary tools to hold an inquiry into suchissues.

"As the issue relates to a former Army Chief and somesenior officers who have since retired, we have handed overthe matter to the Defence Ministry for action," Singh said.

He said the Army does not want to waste its time on thesematters as it does not have to powers to conduct an inquiryagainst retired army officers.

"We do not have the tools to check bank accounts andissues like that. Hence, we have handed over the matter to theDefence Ministry for action," the General said. .

Singh was replying to specific questions on action taken in the Adarsh housing scam, the Sukhna land scam and the freshrevelation of alleged irregularities related to a piece ofland in Kandivli, a Mumbai suburb which the Army had taken onrent from Maharashtra government.

To a question on making the assets of the Army chiefpublic, Singh said he was sure it would be in the publicdomain at some point of time.

"There are a lot of things which are not in the publicdomain where the Army is concerned. I am sure at some point oftime this will be in the public domain," he said.

The General said there was already a system within theArmy where an officer has to file details of every purchaseand sale of movable and immovable asset.

"For any acquisition of movable or immovable property,we file a return right from the time we get commissioned. Itis available for our records. Anybody who sees that knows asto what each individual has as his belonging," he said.

Singh said he had also tried to impress upon the soldiersto trust their chain of command and speak up if anything wrongis being done.

He also said whatever matters have come up were relatedonly to a few officers and it would be wrong to paint theentire army with the same brush.

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