...by the way
Defence Research and Development Organisation chief VK Saraswat is an unhappy man, with the Defence Ministry clipping his wings. They say uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. So when you wear three crowns you have to be really careful. This is something Saraswat should have known. Wearing three hats – Director General of DRDO; Secretary, Defence Research and Development; and Chief Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister – Saraswat entrusted himself with certain financial powers. He used his good offices to persuade the Government to enhance the financial powers of DRDO Director General and Secretary, Defence Research and Development from Rs 25-50 crore and Rs 60-75 crore, respectively. To create a facade of accountability, while sanctioning a project up to Rs 50 crore as DG DRDO, he would get the concurrence of his financial advisor on the file. This was even though the financial advisor was reporting to him. When these ‘deficiencies’, ‘procedural irregularities’ and ‘splitting sanctions’ came to light, Saraswat found that he had more enemies than friends in the Defence Ministry. Thus, the CAG noted that the manner in which costs were being artificially reduced to below the Rs 50-crore mark was particularly objectionable. Apparently, this was being done by reducing the number of deliverables and curtailing the project scope. In many cases, expenditure heads for scientists and manpower were not included. For instance, the actual cost of a Rs 70 crore project for design and development of electro-optical sensors for air-borne platforms was manipulated and split in such a way that both remained well under Rs 50 crore. Likewise projects Akashdeep and Aditya were so tailored that there was no need to get higher sanction. There were also irregularities relating to nomenclature of sanction issuing authorities, database and splitting of sanctions. Now the very people who were supporting him are gunning for him.