Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra on Tuesday told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has said that 30 volumes of its files related to the Bofors gun deal may be scrutinised, as per sources quoted by Indian Express. After CAG’s warning, Mitra has asked for a period of one month in order to submit the Action Taken Notes (ATN) to the PAC on the basis of the CAG report that highlighted the alleged irregularities in the purchase of the guns. Reportedly, the defence ministry has failed to submit the ATN to PAC over the last 27 years. In the year 1990, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was made public.
PAC member and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Nishikant Dubey and sub-committee chairman BJD’s Bhartruhari Mahtab have repeatedly questioned the Defence Ministry over failing to submit the Action Taken Note all these years. According to sources, “The question that was asked today to the Defence Secretary was that when will they submit the ATNs. The Defence Secretary sought time till mid-September. The ministry had earlier sought time till mid- August.” It added, “that the government told the PAC that it would collect all reports related to the issue and get back to the panel with its response.”
Earlier in the year, the sub-committee took up the case and sought the ministry’s response to Para 11 of CAG report of 1989 and Para 9 of CAG report of 1990 on which the ministry had not submitted ATNs for last 27 years, according to Indian Express. The PAC asked the defence ministry to explore options to access the related files when the government responded by saying that they did not have the relevant files to respond to these paras and suggested that the paras should be omitted from the record.
PAC is headed by senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge.