Monday, March 27, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

CBI to form special teams
Probe into defence deals
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, March 26 — The CBI, has decided to form “special teams” and seek additional manpower to probe various defence deals referred to it by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) following orders from the Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, that all defence deals of the last 15 years be investigated.

Although another audit investigating agency, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), which had also been asked to undertake investigations by the Defence Minister, has written to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to first take action on all investigations it had carried out in the defence deals in the last 15 years, the CBI has written to the CVC that it was hunting for manpower to handle the additional work load. The CVC had recently referred a list of defence deals which it wanted the CBI to investigate.

The CAG had earlier written to the MoD that since no action had been taken on the investigations carried out by it earlier, there was no purpose for it to undertake fresh investigations. The CAG has on its own been carrying out audit investigations in the defence deals and also placing them in its annual reports in Parliament but the MoD and the three services have not taken any action in most of the cases.

The CBI has apparently cited the constitution of special teams for the Rs 1437 crore Bofors payoffs and Rajiv Gandhi assassination cases, and said the investigating agency would set up similar teams to probe defence deals depending on the quantum of work.

The agency also plans to coopt personnel on a temporary basis from the state police forces also if the magnitude of the cases to be investigated turned out to be huge.

The government recently ordered a sweeping probe by the CVC through the CBI and the CAG into allegations of presence of agents in all “identified major defence purchases since 1985-86”.

Major defence deals likely to come under fresh scrutiny could include acquisition of frontline MiG-29s, Mirage-2000s and the recent induction of multi-role SU-30 fighter planes for the Air Force and purchase of billions of dollars worth of spares mainly for Russian armament in the inventory of the Navy, IAF and Army.

Apparently reacting to the letter from the CAG, the MoD had recently also set up a special team of officers to take action with the purpose of fixing responsibility in each and every case which the audit agency had investigated. Although the team had already started to function and was studying the reports, no timeframe had been specified for it to submit its report on what action had been taken on the previous investigations carried out by the CAG.


Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | In Spotlight |
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
119 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |