The Army has raised the red flag on the spending of public money by a secretive military intelligence (MI) unit that was set up by former Army Chief Gen V K Singh,contending that among other things,allocation of funds worth Rs 8 crore still needs to be accounted for.
In a report on the functioning of the controversial Technical Support Division (TSD) that has been accused of conducting secret spying missions on government functionaries in the past,the Army HQ has informed the defence ministry that several discrepancies have come to light but the most serious charge pertains to unknown expenses of Rs 8 crore that were incurred by the unit for operations in Kashmir.
Sources said the detailed report has been submitted to the defence ministry,but the Army has not yet taken action as it is awaiting a nod before proceeding with framing of charges and fixing of accountability for losses incurred.
Besides recommending disbanding of the TSD and laying out standard operating procedures for raising any such units in the future,the Army has reportedly revealed that secret funds were used to purchase bugs and other interception equipment without any proper selection procedure or maintaining of records.
The special unit,which spent over Rs 20 crore in the two years that it was functional,has not been able to account for as much as Rs 8 crore. During investigations,it has come to light that the money was marked for operations in Kashmir but no record
has been maintained. It is believed that a substantial part of these funds were given to an NGO named YES Kashmir that had filed a petition in court against Gen Bikram Singh,the present Army Chief who was then the Eastern Army Commander and was in line to take charge after the retirement of Gen V K Singh. It has been alleged that the TSD was functioning as a special task force of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Secretariat.
While the report has been submitted to the defence ministry,sources said no move has been taken to expedite action against those who need to be held accountable. When contacted,the defence ministry refused to comment.
Among other discrepancies,sources said,it has emerged that many purchases of bugging equipment were made without following procedures,vehicles that were being used by the TSD were shown as being with other units,vehicle movements were not noted as logs were not maintained and that no approvals exist on paper for setting up the unit.
While a Colonel who was heading the unit is already under the scanner,sources said the role of a Maj Gen who was posted in the MI could also come up for questioning.
In September last year,the Army appointed Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia to head a panel to review the functioning and efficacy of TSD that gained notoriety following several allegations of irregularities and a case of espionage involving its head clerk. Lt Gen Bhatia,who is currently the Director General. Infantry,headed a panel of officers that probed the functioning of the unit in 2011-12,ever since it was set up by then Army Chief Gen V K Singh.