A parliamentary committee is understood to have slammed the Army for "denying access" to auditors to look into the accounts of the Unit Run Canteens (URCs) even ignoring defence ministry's directions in this regard.
There are 3,600 URCs in the country which are the retail sellers of consumer goods provided to them by the Canteen Stores Department (CSD).
The Comptroller and Auditor General has been seeking to audit accounts of the URCs on grounds that the CSD transfers money from the consolidated fund of India in form of qualitative discounts.
This has been opposed by the armed forces claiming that URCs are run by non-public fund.
"The Committee is dismayed to note that Audit was denied access to records of the URCs by the Army Headquarters in spite of repeated requests on ground that URCs are regimental units and are being run from non-public fund.
"What is more intriguing is the fact that such denial was made despite directions of the defence ministry to make records of the URCs available for audit," the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is understood to have said in its report, which is expected to be tabled in Parliament soon.
On the argument of armed forces that audit of URCs will have an impact on morale of troops, the PAC said, "We fail to understand that how auditing of URCs would be so intrusive as to have an adverse impact on the morale of troops."
The committee is believed to have noted the finances of the CSD were brought under ambit of audit from April 1, 1977 but "surprisingly and for no cogent reasons, the URCs continued to be treated as private regimental institutions outside parliamentary control".
The PAC said, to depict the entire organisation operation of the CSD, "it is imperative that the URCs follow uniform accounting principles and their operational results are disclosed in proforma accounts of the CSD".
"The Committee is of the considered view that an assessment of the overall functioning of URCs by the CAG is of paramount importance and therefore must be subject to statutory audit," it is understood to have noted.