gfiles magazine

March 18, 2013

Rewards for silence the way
Rewards for silence
Secretaries in the Defence Ministry are supposed to ensure that Ministers don’t take arbitrary decisions and endanger the defence of the country. They are the watchdogs. They should be able to speak their mind. But when they choose to close their eyes and ears, it’s an invitation to all kinds of scams, deals and controversies. It is, therefore, not surprising that in all these years of scams and scandals, while ministers have lost their jobs, not one defence secretary appears to have put his foot down or dared to disagree with his political master. Is this because they are reaping the fruits of their silence after retirement? One beneficiary of this quid pro-quo deal appears to have been Shekhar Dutt, a 1969 batch IAS officer from Madhya Pradesh and brother-in-law of Pulok Chatterjee. Shortly after his retirement as Defence Secretary, he was appointed as Governor of Chhattisgarh. Similarly, NN Vohra took over as I K Gujral’s principal secretary and headed a committee, which submitted a report on the links between criminals and politicians to P V Narasimha Rao. He is now Governor of J&K. Another former Defence Secretary, P M Nair, a 1967 batch IAS officer, was appointed Secretary to the President while Vijay Singh is currently a member of the UPSC. Again, Pradeep Kumar, a 1972 batch officer of the Haryana cadre, was appointed CVC after his retirement. He had been promoted as Defence Secretary just two months before his retirement from Secretary (Defence Production). The promotion pushed his retirement to July 30, 2011. Again, he was chosen as the CVC just a month before he was due to retire, a post that will now allow him to continue in office till the age of 65. He will now retire on September 29, 2014. Interestingly the strongest contenders for the 12th CAG’s post are two former Defence Secretaries – Shashi Kant Sharma and R K Singh.

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