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Kargil panel findings

New Delhi, Aug. 6: The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, that studied purchase of military stores for the 1999 Kargil War, has said it is unable to give its findings because the defence ministry has not given it the report of the Central Vigilance Commission. But it has listed irregularities in the government order and the anomalies pointed out in the Comptroller and Auditor General’s Report.

Quoting from the audit report, the PAC said the defence ministry relaxed procedures to get supplies for Operation Vijay (the Kargil war) in May-June 1999. The report reviewed purchases worth Rs 2,163.09 crore. The purchases totalled Rs 2,175.40 crore.

The report highlighted that:

• Nearly all the supplies were either received or contracted and received “well after cessation of hostilities and therefore in no way supported the operations”

• Supplies valued at Rs 2,150 crore were received AFTER the war of which supplies worth Rs 1,762.21 crore were received after january 2000, or six months AFTER the war. Supplies worth Rs 1,606.26 crore (75 per cent) were contracted after the war ended in July 1999

• In 35 cases, the relaxation of rules and procedures led to the government knowingly paying Rs 44.21 crore more for certain items

• The government ordered supplies valued at Rs 260.55 crore that did not meet qualitative requirements and it was saddled with expired ammunition worth Rs 91.86 crore

• While critical supplies of clothing, ammunition and arms could not reach the troops during the operation, an amount of Rs 1,046 crore — almost half the total — entirely in foreign exchange “was spent fruitlessly, breaching established principles of propriety”.

The Public Accounts Committee consulted the comptroller and auditor general in one of its meetings in December 2001. The CAG suggested the committee should refer to the report of the Central Vigilance Commission on defence deals. On requesting the CVC, the PAC was informed that the documents consulted were “top secret” and were with the defence ministry.

Subsequently, the defence ministry turned down the request to furnish the CVC’s report. Even the CAG said “mere secrecy ought not to be taken as a plea”.

He told the committee that the ministry had entrusted both the CAG and the CVC to probe the defence deals.

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