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Fund misuse: CAG clubs army chief

Love of golf has brought the army another major embarrassment. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has indicted army chief General V.K. Singh for diverting close to Rs 72 lakh for the illegal construction of a swanky building at the Ambala golf course, reports Rahul Singh.

delhi Updated: Aug 09, 2010 01:06 IST
Rahul Singh

Love of golf has brought the army another major embarrassment.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has indicted army chief General V.K. Singh for diverting close to Rs 72 lakh for the illegal construction of a swanky building at the Ambala golf course.

The auditor, in a report tabled in Parliament last week, says the building was constructed “under cover of sanctions issued for carrying out special repairs and construction of storage and accommodation for some army units”. It has indicted Singh, the then 2 Corps commander, and the local sub-area commander without naming them.

The army spent Rs 71.86 lakh on the two-storey building, which houses a bar, restaurant, kitchen, library, museum, committee room and the golf secretary's office. Last year, CAG exposed top generals who’d bought golf carts for Rs 1.17 crore on the pretext of procuring electric wheelchairs.

According to the report, Singh and the sub-area commander sanctioned four construction and repair jobs at Ambala Cantt in December 2006.

These jobs, sanctioned for R 57.65 lakh, were then clubbed and an "unauthorised building" constructed after demolishing the existing structure at Kharga Environmental Park and Training Area, another name for the golf club.

"Such accommodation is not authorised in a training area and was shown as covered by the aforementioned sanctions," the CAG report says.

Pointing out that all sanctions were taken for the construction, a senior army officer said: "There's been
no misappropriation or misuse of the funds. Work has been physically executed on ground, checked and handed over to units."

The defence ministry too had told CAG in March 2010 that all sanctioned work was executed on the ground.

But the auditor rejected this contention as factually incorrect, saying the existing building was pulled down and a new one erected.