Serious financial irregularities have been detected in the Naval establishment in Mumbai with the Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA) sending the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for further probe. The fraud was detected earlier this month, with officials of the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (PCDA) tracing duplicate payments to vendors and suppliers by an ingenious method of infiltrating the multi-layered Defence accounts and banking systems.
Five officials from the PCDA (Navy) in Mumbai, who were involved in processing the duplicate payments, have been suspended. The payments detected and confirmed as duplicate so far are to the tune of Rs 6.8 crore but officials suspect that illegal payments may have been made for a lengthy period of time which is why the case had to be referred to the CBI.
Records examined by The Indian Express show that the seven duplicate payments are all dated March 2016 and each of them is, curiously, valued at between Rs 93 lakh-Rs 99 lakh, just below the Rs 1 crore figure.
CGDA officials said that they are now probing the possibility of this quantum of duplicate payments being made every month with the connivance of PCDA (Navy) officials.
Payments have been allegedly made to front companies which earlier used unique numbers allotted by various Navy units and payments were made through various banks that include Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Karnataka Bank. Most of the companies named in connection to the cases appear to be related to computer network operations.
While questions to the Ministry of Defence went unanswered, senior officials of the CGDA confirmed the development and said that the five officials were suspended after an inquiry ordered by the CGDA.