CAG pulls up Indian navy and army


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New Delhi : The Indian Navy has been pulled up by a government watchdog on public finances for getting two maritime reconnaissance aircraft refurbished at a cost of Rs.2.69 billion but minus essential avionics and weapon systems leading to serious limitations in their operational role.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its report Monday said refurbishing was done due to "unrealistic assumption" about the capability of timely indigenous development of certain avionics systems and lead-time for import of necessary weapon systems.

Five Russian made IL-38 planes were approved for restoration by the government but only two aircraft were received after undergoing mid-life upgrade in January 2006.

The two refurbished planes came back from Russia after a delay of 25 months and 16 months respectively, the report said.

An audit examination revealed that the mid-life upgrade did not progress according to the schedule due to delays in finalisation of contracts for supply of certain avionics and weapon systems as also due to delays in supply of customer supplied equipment, it said.

As a result, the upgrades the two aircraft received were without essential avionics and weapons systems, the report said.

The CAG also pointed to the navy's failure to synchronise pilot training abroad with the acquisition schedule of the newly-acquired fighter aircraft, thus not adhering to the justification given for training abroad of at least 16 pilots.

This delay in finalisation of the deal also resulted in avoidable extra expenditure of Rs.462 million, it said.

Even the army was pulled up by the CAG for purchasing hand-held thermal imagers (HHTI) in excess valued at more than Rs.10.16 crore (Rs.101.6 million).

"Audit of a transaction of HHTI used by army and the Rashtriya Rifles to detect and monitor enemy activities at night, especially along the Line of Control, has revealed an excess procurement of 56 Thermal Imagers worth Rs.10.16 crore due to incorrect assessment," the report said.

The army had put up an order for 4,062 HHTIs, including a reserve stock of 10 percent.

The army received the full consignment of these thermal imagers by March 2004, but a detailed audit showed that while giving its assessment of 4,062 thermal imagers the army had adopted an "incorrect number of battalions" to be armed with these force multipliers.

The CAG said the army action had resulted in "avoidable expenditure of Rs.10.16 crore", the report said.