Two years on, laptops for NDA cadets still a distant dream
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On February 19, the National Defence Academy (NDA) floated a Request for Proposal (RfP) for 100 mobile 'thin clients' (customised laptops)for cadets. The same never materialised for
reasons best known to academy officials.
Not many know however that even as the NDA plans to place a fresh order for 'thin clients', the outcome of a Court of Inquiry (CoI) pertaining to the alleged irregularities in the procurement of IT stationery in the NDA — that included the first batch of 2,100 'thin clients' procured in 2010-11 — is still pending.
The confidential CoI, proceeds of which are with The Indian Express, involves allegations regarding kickbacks in kind and extending undue favours to private organisations by officials involved. In fact, the lady officer of Lt Commander rank — the whistleblower, whose revelations led to the CoI — also alleges misappropriation even in the MIS stores when refilled cartridges were reportedly shown as new and the vendors were charged for the cost of new cartridges.
The CoI, for the "purpose of investigating into the irregularities in the procurement of receipt, issue and accounting of IT stationery at MIS cell, including receipt of any illegal considerations" was constituted on April 26, 2011 and according to academy officials, have been forwarded to HQ, IDS-NDA top bosses in Delhi and has been lying with them since.
On May 15, The Indian Express had sent an email to the NDA asking for conclusion of the CoI and the proceeds further. However, no reply was received so far.
A senior officer told this reporter before Passing out Parade in May, "A number of CoIs are on and it is inappropriate to report about them."
The whistleblower lady officer also recorded conversations with various individuals in the academy, a compilation of which was produced as an exhibit in the CoI. Allegations also involve favoritism- wherein companies offering kickbacks in kind to officers or clerical staff were extended the contract.