THE NATIONAL Defence Academy (NDA) is conducting a departmental inquiry, as recommended by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), into the alleged irregularities in the purchase of 2,100 Thin Client computers in 2010-11 for the cadets.
The premier tri-services training institute of the country, had in in 2010-11, purchased over 2,100 Thin Client computers for its cadets. A naval officer, then posted at the academy, Lt Commander Sowjanya Sree, who was the whistleblower in the case, had alleged that there were irregularities in the procurement.
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Lt Cdr Sowjanya had alleged that payments were made to a firm without the completion of the assigned work of designing an intranet website. In an even more serious allegation, she had said that payments amounting to Rs 50 lakh as kickback were made.
A Court of Inquiry (CoI) presided over by an officer of the rank of Colonel was ordered. The CoI recorded the statements of Lt Cdr Sowjanya along with those alleged to have been involved in the ‘irregularity’ — a woman officer and her husband. The statements of witnesses — a lower division clerk, a store keeper and representatives of private companies — were also taken. The accused denied wrongdoings ‘on record’ and were later posted elsewhere.
At the same time, the CBI also probed the case. However, it did not find anything ‘prosecutable’ after its investigation. A senior officer from the CBI who did not wish to be named said, “The CBI team has completed the probe and has recommended to the NDA that they probe the issue at the departmental level and take actions against those who were involved.” A senior officer from the NDA told The Indian Express, “A committee headed by an officer of Colonel rank has started the inquiry into the alleged irregularities. The committee will record the statements of the various people who were involved in the process of procurement.”