The defence ministry on Monday denied irregularities in the procurement of military stores during the 1999 Kargil conflict. In its latest affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, the ministry clarified that the stores procured for Operation Vijay during the NDA regime were received after the hostility between India and Pakistan ceased. It said this could not be construed as irregularity or lapse.
Filed by director, defence ministry, Anil Bahuguna, the affidavit gave a detailed explanation of how CAG accepted the ministry's action taken notes (ATNs) furnished in response to its queries. It further clarified that the CBI had registered two of the 35 cases in which CAG had alleged irregularities.
In one more case, the agency was still in the process of probing the matter. As per the ministry's affidavit the CBI's investigation is pending for execution of Letter Rogatory.
On perusing the affidavit, a bench headed by Justice Aftab Alam gave time to senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi to file his response. On the last date of hearing, Justice Alam had expressed strong reservations against the ministry's failure to apprise the court about the status of inquiries in the cases. Dwivedi, assisting the court in the matter, alleged the government had failed to initiate action in the scam despite CAG's indictment. He had contended the government should scrap CAG if the latter's reports were not to be taken seriously.
According to the ministry's affidavit, the army headquarters had initiated action to procure the stores urgently required for Operation Vijay in May 1999. Most of the contracts were signed in June 1999. But, before they could be delivered, the conflict officially ended in July.
It also claimed that items procured were those regularly required by the army. Therefore, despite delay, stock was utilised.