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Scrutiny
  
Unforgivable conduct
Cases related to corruption in the Indian defence establishment must be dealt with severely
30/12/2012

For long, it was believed that the Defence set-up in our country is above the purview of corrupt practices. That, too, has now been proved wrong owing to alarming irregularities. Army canteens are a case in point, which are now getting exposed as breeding grounds of corruption. In June this year, CBI arrested CSD’s Joint General Manager (JGM) Brigadier Anuj Kainthla in connection with a corruption racket for taking a bribe of Rs.7.5 lakh from a private firm Sankalp Consumer Products to unfairly promote the products of manufacturers that the latter represents. Another JGM Bikas Ranjan Daschaudhary was also arrested along with Sankalp Director Milind Govilkar, after he was caught redhanded while taking a bribe of Rs.1.25 lakh from the latter.

CSD, which has an annual purchase bill of around Rs.100 billion, has 600 suppliers to supply over 4000 items. Interestingly, the credentials of 200-300 suppliers are questionable and proper guidelines are allegedly not being followed in vendor selection. Irregularities are being seen in other defence wings too. CBI questioned Jatinder Singh, ex-Commandant of the National Defence Academy in September 2012 regarding a recruitment scam of C-grade officers, where the total bribe money had supposedly reached Rs.17.6 million.

Such cases paint the Indian defence forces in a poor light and are damaging for morale as a whole. It is critical that lawmakers take such cases to swift closure and set an example that could deter such grossly unethical conduct in future.

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