The National Cadet Corps (NCC) funds embezzlement episode in the Northeast is turning murkier. After names of several senior officers figuring in the scam, Director General (NCC) Lt General RK Karwal is rushing to the Shillong Directorate today to take stock of the situation.
Though Lt General Karwal is visiting the Northeast to look at the NCC training, his tour within a few days of the prime suspect, a retired colonel named the Deputy Director General and boss of the NCC (NER) in the case of training funds embezzlement holds much signficance, top NCC officials in Delhi said.
They said two sets of Court of Inquiries (CoIs) into the case amid starting revelations of involvement of many more senior officials in pocketing several crores had the NCC headquarters rattled.
After preliminary investigations by different agencies revealed a bigger scam, the CBI and Meghalaya CID have also begun collecting information, the NCC officials confirmed. The scam is estimated to be over Rs. 50 crore in the past 10 years, they added.
Meanwhile, clamour for an independent inquiry by the Ministry of Defence is also getting louder and louder in the North Eastern Region (NER).
Top NCC officials here told HT that not only special funds sent by the Centre to promote the NCC activity in the Northeast have been pocketed but the money sent by state governments, too, seem to have gone missing. Doubts are also being raised over similar central funds sent to Jammu and Kashmir, the officials added.
On April 7, the HT had first highlighted the embezzlement of funds by some NCC officers in the Northeast.
The prime suspect, Colonel AK Barua who retired from the post of Director (NCC-NER) three months ago has, meanwhile, questioned the CoI against him saying that the officials conducting the inquiry are not competent to hold it.
In a legal notice to the DG (NCC), Barua said even the DDG (NER) Brig PR Sharma could be guilty party as he had handled and supervised the funds in question. Besides, the CoI set up by him was in contravention of orders from Delhi headquarters that called for a probe by a Brigadier-level officer.
Col Barua, in the notice dated May 5 to DG (NCC), alleged Brig. Sharma could not order the CoI as he himself was the beneficiary of the said funds. The NCC Directorate in Shillong had instituted a CoI by colonel-ranked officials, serving under Brig Sharma.
He also questioned the timing of the CoI and wondered as to why the officials kept quiet for such a long time if the funds meant for them were not received by them. "Brig. Sharma can easily influence them and they may pinpoint me regarding the said misuse of funds to safeguard themselves and Brig Sharma," he said in the notice.
On April 2, Brig. Sharma had got an FIR registered and convened the CoI to probe the matter. He also ordered stopping pension of Col Barua. On April 15, however, the DG (NCC) ordered another CoI headed by Brig KP Chand, DDG (NCC), West Bengal. The two sets of CoI have led to a piquant situation.
The scam came to light when various NCC Group Headquarters in Kohima, Guwahati, Dibrugarh and Silcher reported in separate communications that demand drafts (DDs) purportedly issued in their name amounting to Rs. 43 lakh did not reach them.
When the NCC Directorate (NER), Shillong, checked up with the concerned branch of the Central Bank of India, it was discovered that money had been siphoned off to other accounts by the NCC staff after cancelling the DDs which were initially issued in favour of various NCC units and headquarters.
The details from other NCC Group Headquarters in the Northeast are also being ascertained.