November 28, 2010

RAW data: secret funds buy cars, an office under cloud

Manu Pubby Posted online: Sun Nov 28 2010, 08:53 hrs

New Delhi : Using secret funds to purchase cars for staff, buying snoop equipment worth $350 million without conducting user trials, building a whole new tower in the new office without any clearances — a string of controversies has gripped the country’s premier foreign intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

RAW, incidentally, is the recipient of the largest amount of secret funds, close to Rs 350 crore this year. While there are provisions for an internal audit by a CAG official posted in the agency, its findings are never made public or even shared in a sealed envelope with a Parliamentary committee.

The latest controversies come when efforts are on to replace RAW chief K C Verma before his retirement in January next year.

Indications are that S K Tripathi, the head of RAW’s air wing, the Aviation Research Centre, will take over. But Tripathi retires in December, a month before Verma. So, for him to become RAW chief, Verma has to be moved out and sources said he’s likely to go to the National Technical Research Organisation, where he would get another three years.

RAW Chief K C Verma, when contacted by The Sunday Express, declined to comment.

The key controversies:

About 30 Maruti Altos were purchased — using secret funds —to allegedly mollify the much-agitated junior official staff that had complaints over slow promotions and related service conditions. The procurement has been shown for “operational” purposes and it’s learnt that the cars have just been handed over to each deputy secretary. A couple of them, sources said, have apparently refused to accept a car if they don’t get a driver with it.

The Finance Ministry has questioned RAW for incurring almost double the expenditure for construction of a new building near the CGO complex in the capital after adding a third tower without taking clearances. While Rs 90 crore was sanctioned to construct a building with two wings in 2005, a third wing was added without taking the required clearances, shooting cost up to Rs 160 crore. With the finance department strongly objecting to changes in the design plan, the building has been lying unused for over a year now. For, no money has been released to complete the interiors. It is learnt that an internal committee of RAW has been asked to report on how these changes were sanctioned.

The Finance Department of the Cabinet Secretariat — under which RAW falls — is also learnt to have raised serious objections against two major contracts that have been finalised by the agency, including a $350-million deal to supply airborne electronic surveillance systems. Besides concerns on competitiveness of the bids, the main objection is that both contracts were finalised without carrying out user trials, as is the norm in all defence contracts.

Also under the scanner is the purchase of a VSAT (satellite communication) monitoring system. In December 2009, RAW approved the purchase of untested interception equipment to snoop on enemy satellite communication on the basis of a “live performance” in Ukraine and not on the basis of user trials at home. Moreover, a top RAW official cited ISRO’s endorsement of the system to clear the purchase worth Rs 11.7 crore. However, records later showed that ISRO had, in fact, rejected the system. This was confirmed in writing by the Defence Intelligence Agency — under the Ministry of Defence — that was ordering a similar system through ISRO. The purchase of the VSAT monitoring system has also invited objections from the Finance Department of the Cabinet Secretariat


Intelligence News said...

Intelligence News engages in analysis of how every government wishes to clandestinely source its security infrastructure, equipment and support.
Unfortunately, many governments standard practice in security and defense tendering is a panacea for corruption and blackhat methods of subsidizing other secret/covert operations.
Literally, the acquisition of the cars is nothing but a cloud mirroring other strange deals.

Anonymous said...

Спасибо понравилось !

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