PAY COMMISSION: Nationwide strike on 20th September against petro hike and FDI

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Ex-NDA chief to be grilled in job scam

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Rajshri Mehta, TNN | Sep 16, 2012, 01.33AM IST
MUMBAI: The CBI will question Lt Gen Jatinder Singh, former Commandant of the National Defence Academy, on September 17 in the recruitment scam.

According to an investigation, Rs 3-5 lakh was allegedly paid in bribe for C-grade posts of as C-grade staff like cooks, gardeners, clerks etc at NDA while Lt Gen Singh was the commandant there. The total bribe amount came close to Rs 1.76 crore. The accused allegedly took signatures of the candidates, who agreed to pay the bribe, on blank sheets and later filled them with correct answers, the investigation said.

The defence ministry granted the permission to quiz Singh after the CBI reportedly reportedly established a "money link", connecting Singh and his brother to the alleged scam. The CBI probe showed prime accused Col Kulbir Singh, also the staff officer to the Commandant, gave Rs 4 lakh in cash to Singh's brother during a meeting in a five-star hotel in Mumbai on June 23. After the CBI arrested six of NDA's employees, including Singh's staff officer, for allegedly taking bribe from candidates appearing for the subordinate jobs, Singh lieutenant general was earlier transferred out of NDA and attached to the Army Headquarters.

Singh declined to comment when contacted by TOI.

The CBI has already questioned Singh's brother who works in a leading corporate house. "He told us Singh took Rs 4 lakh from him which was returned by Kulbir Singh. The money was for building a home in Ambala. It's odd that Singh should take money from a staff officer to repay his brother and that too, in a five-star hotel. Singh took the money from his brother in cheque and paid it back in cash," said an agency official.

Singh will be asked to explain the source of funds for his under-construction 7,000 sq-ft bungalow in Ambala, worth over Rs 2 crore. The agency will ask Singh questions like his powers in approving and preventing any mischief in the recruitment process and action taken on complaints of malpractices in exams.

According to the probe, bribes of Rs 3-5 lakh were allegedly paid for jobs as C-grade staff like cooks, gardners, clerks at NDA while Singh was the commandant there.
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Defence canteen products under scanner: Controller of Defence Accounts says canteen did not follow set guidelines

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By Abhishek Bhalla

PUBLISHED: 23:25 GMT, 1 September 2012 | UPDATED: 23:25 GMT, 1 September 2012

Families of defence personnel buying cheaper beverages and grocery items from the canteen stores department (CSD) may be compromising with their health.

The Controller of Defence Accounts (CDA) has questioned the quality of products being sold at the CSD at subsidised rates. According to the laid-out guidelines, food items, liquor and beverages have to be scrutinised for hygiene standards.

This, the CDA believes, is not being done at the CDS. Hygiene is not the only matter of concern. The defence auditor has also objecting to the 'arbitrary and opaque' manner of functioning of the CSD, leading to 'poor quality products with little brand value' being supplied to the defence personnel.
Here is an example of the bizarre functioning. A floor wiper manufacturer is also a supplier of Kesaria Thandai in the defence canteen. These issues have been highlighted by the CDA in its recent correspondence to the ministry of defence.
Curry, toothbrushes, pasta and whisky are under scrutiny after the Controller of Defence Accounts charged that the canteen did not follow guidelines, including hygiene checks

'It is incomprehensible how a wiper manufacturer is accepted to supply thandai to the CSD and that too without factory inspection and hygiene report,' one of the communications between the defence auditor and ministry said.

Mail Today is in the possession of a series of letters sent by Savitur Prasad, principal controller, CDA, to the ministry questioning the functioning of the CSD.

The communication made available to Delhi-based RTI activist Subhash Agarwal indicts the canteen for being 'wrapped in corrupt practices, thereby cheating several families of defence personnel dependent on it'.
Defence Auditor to Defence Ministry

This is not the first time the CSD has faced flak for its operations. The Comptroller and Auditor General had highlighted the 'irregularities' in the CSD in its 2010-11 report.

'Evidence gathered in the audit indicated that in the absence of relevant controls, there was a significant risk of sale of perished stores to the consumers. From 2003 to 2009, out of 11,254 samples referred to the composite food laboratory, 349 (3.1 per cent) were found unsatisfactory.

'It took about 1 to 13 months for the groceries and two months for food items to obtain the test results. By that time, the stock of unfit items was sold,' the report said.

The defence auditor, in its May 16, 2012, communication, has reiterated the objections. 'I am writing to highlight the malady that ails the Canteen Stores Department and requires immediate attention.

'Instead of groping in the dark about the functioning of the CSD, which is considered to be a mascot of organised procurement system, an insight will reveal the labyrinthine corruption prevailing in the organisation,' the letter read.

Defence officials, though not displeased with the CSD products, want quality check of every item. 'If the CDA is constructive in its approach there is no problem. We definitely need the highest level of efficiency in the working of CSD.

'In the past also there have been charges that sub-standard products are being sold at the canteen. They (CSD) are supposed to have quality checks and they should be carried out,' a former naval officer, Commodore (retd) Uday Bhaskar, said
The CDA says the CSD has not followed the laid-out parameters as a result of which the following products, among others, have been introduced in the army canteen
Observations of Controller of Defence Accounts to the Defence Ministry
Defence Auditor to Defence Ministry
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