Role of the current CAG Shashi Kant Sharma in Agusta Westland deal

The current CAG Sharma was a key player in the #AgustaWestland deal

The current CAG Sharma was a key player in the #AgustaWestland deal
The current CAG Sharma was a key player in the #AgustaWestland deal

While the political tsunami Agusta is hitting all levels of Indian politicians and Air Force officials, a key official of India is perhaps hiding his head like an ostrich, hoping it would miss him. That would be India’s Comptroller and Auditor General Shashi Kant Sharma. In page 9 of the Italian appeal court judgment(see the picture below), there is a seized document (a hand written note) from middlemen on how to share the bribe to the key people – Air Force officials, Bureaucrats in Ministry of Defence and to Sonia Gandhi’s Political Secretary Ahmed Patel (mentioned as AP). This crucial handwritten note was written by the main middleman, currently a fugitive, Christian Michel in March 2008.

Page 9 of the Italian High Cout verdict, showing DG (Acq), which was Sharma

In the bureaucrats section of the above list, there is a name mentioned as DG (Acq) – meaning Director General (Acquisition). In those days, this key post in the Ministry of Defence was held by the current Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Shashi Kant Sharma.

Sharma belongs to the 1976 batch of Indian Administrative Service (Bihar Cadre) and landed in the Ministry of Defence in the middle of 2003 as Joint Secretary (Air). He was the person who initiated this controversial Agusta Westland VVIP purchase and he became DG (Acquisition) in the middle of 2007. He was at this crucial post till 2010 and became Defence Secretary from March 2011 to May 2013.

In the 10 years that Sharma was in the Ministry of Defence, he held key positions and eyebrows were raised when the UPA Government in May 2013 made him the CAG. It was a very unusual move – a Defence Secretary does not get appointed as CAG, as the apex auditor’s major work of auditing is the biggest expenditure department, which is Defence. It is as if you are asked to sit in judgment over your own case where you are the accused.

After serving in the Defence Ministry for 10 long years and now as Country’s Apex auditor – all of a sudden he is auditing the expenditure approved by him for the past 10 years! What an awkward and morally questionable decision by the UPA Government! Was it looking for a pliable guy, as it was fed up with the then outgoing CAG Vinod Rai?

After the Italian Judgment has endorsed this bribe list by incorporating it, Indian agencies have to question each and every person mentioned. This puts the probe agencies in a dilemma as Sharma is now a CAG, which is a Constitutional post. In the interest of justice at least probe agencies have to go to him and take his version.

In the bribe sharing list prepared by middlemen in 2008, there is another key post that is mentioned – JS (Air). After Sharma, during this period, this crucial post was handled by R K Ghosh. This officer is from the IA & AS Service who donned this post from the middle of September 2007 to 2012. It is well known in power circles that Sharma and Ghosh are very close.

As soon as SK Sharma became the CAG, one of the first things he did was to give a plum post to his close friend R K Ghosh by giving him a plum post abroad. From mid-2013 onwards, Ghosh was posted as Senior Auditing Officer in United Nations Head Quarters in New York for three years. This is a tax-free post and is a dream job of every government officer. Now Ghosh is back in his parent Department as Additional Deputy CAG.

UPA’s crucial purchases including Agusta and the aborted Rafale deals were negotiated by Sharma and Ghosh during their very long stint in the Ministry of Defence. Now the investigating officers who took statements from Air Force officials including the then Air Force Chief SP Tyagi are consulting legal brains of the country on the awkward situation of taking statements from CAG Sharma, who sits on a Constitutional post.

Summary

  • This post illustrates the difficulties the current government is facing – there are just too many questionable appointments, all of whom cannot be brushed aside.

  • Is this the template (see picture above) that was used by the UPA for all its foreign dealings? If so, how many more such skeletons are going to tumble out of the cupboard?

15 COMMENTS

  1. Traitors on so important post of the country ,with thieir political clouts involved in corruption,no doubt they are against hoisting national flag ,chanting BHARAT MATA KI JAI.Because they have noZAMIR ,THIER soule is only money even at the EXPENCE of national security .The question is the right a punishment ,Apart from seizing THIER property ,n not granting all of retirement money n pension ,they sd face charges of treachery. THIER wards sd not be given any govt job or approval of any kind .These have committed the sin of deceiving people of India and we’re still paid from tax payers money to date. No doubt India was slave for centuries .

  2. RK Pandey an officer of the Indian Audit and Accounts Service was Principal Director of Audit Air Force and Navy and responsible for authoring the watered down report on AW when Vinod Rai was CAG. He was rewarded with a posting in London or Washington DC and is still there. Incidentally, Vinod Rai was India’s CAG from Jan 2008 to May 2013. The term ‘Auditor Genl’ also figures among the 6-7 top bureaucrats receiving AW payoffs in the Haschke document available on this web site. Double dipping then? Rai approved this report in the last week of his CAGship. Coincidence or more!

  3. Even CVC is mentioned. Why that is not figuring in the article? Is the CVC related to the writer? This is how we make accusations without substance these days.. Even an Auditor name is mentioned. All these are missing in the article. Just amention in a piece of paper like this proves nothing! Cannot even file a case with this paper information. You have to establish money taken which is not difficult if the right people make up their minds. But Will they ?

  4. ” This crucial handwritten note was written by the main middleman, currently a fugitive, Christian Michel in March 2008″
    Sharma was DG acquisition then.
    “He was at this crucial post till 2010 and became Defense Secretary from March 2011 to May 2013”
    “..UPA Government in May 2013 made him the CAG”
    All these designations appear under ‘BUR’ Obviously they cannot refer to the same person.
    So we need some more arrows aginst at least the CVC, Auditor General and DS whatever they mean and find out whether they also deserve the same attention from the focused individuals who are factual ,accurate and unbiased .

  5. You should know that the CAG’s constitutionalism is strictly limited by the Constitution and the CAG’s (DPC) Act, 1971 to his salary and pension and matters of audit and accounts only. There is no difficulty whatever in investigating, prosecuting and punishing a CAG for criminal malfeasance. Immunity from criminal prosecution is limited to the President, that too for upholding the death penalty and treatment of prisoners of war. How else, have serving MPs been jailed by courts in the past? The rest of the post is factually correct with the add-on that Ranjan Kumar Ghose (a former Pvt. Secy. to PV Narasimha Rao as PM) succeeded Sharma as JS (Air ) & Acquisitions Manager from 2007-2013 (Mar) and as JS (National Security Council) thereafter till 2013 when Sharma posted him to New York. Sharma even went out of his way to promote Ghose in NY by diverting post from his Delhi HQ. Between Sharma and Ghose, a whole decade 2003-13 passed even as they were party to over USD 40 billion of foreign arms imports. Please check the SIPRI web site for more details.

  6. Wouldn’t be surprised if SHARMA did not get a double helping both as DG Acq and as DS- Defence Secretary. MOD is a cesspool. Every one out to milk it. Some weak soldiers also dip their hands in seeing how everyone is at it . They should know better as to what is in the interest of the nation.

  7. The subsequent murky role played by another audit officer who has been rewarded with a plum posting abroad as the whitewash in charge of diluting the audit report on Agusta westland would further reinforce the story.

  8. In today’s E-governance Network, all facets of A/C under Standard Headings from Taluk level to States& Union ministry levels be “Daily Audited” & Reviewed as per the Norms at each level upto CAG with to & fro communications & corrections which can lead to a #Corruption-freeGovernance .
    In cases of finding of faults &freuads if any, every Quarterly,Half Yearly & Annually Necessary & Deemed punishment be instant & effective.
    Pragmatic & productive monetary transaction system may usher the base for all pervasive #SocialEconomic&CulturalWelfareSociety

  9. Boys and Girls, we cannot beat the ‘Bharati’ crooks, they are clever, and Sonia Gandhi, Ahmed Patel, SP Tyagi are also clever. So let us be content that they have been named as crooks in writing and ‘Basta’. There will be no hanging, imprisonment or simple fines. They ‘may be’ recorded in history as not good people, ‘Basta’. But I, personally, hope that they are hidden away from our mainstream action, maybe in ‘Kala Pani’ (Andamans).–Hirak.

  10. Correctly said by Shiv. The current Govt. should not think as victims. They have the powers and if they are sincere, just use the powers to get the right things done. If not, they are not doing their job.

  11. This report highlights how quickly from a high pedestal of vinod rai, the system quickly descends to sewage in the form of kant sharma.DrSwamy’s crusade becomes more and more important as it is time that big crooks like “Gandu” family gets to tihar to put fear of god over all crooks.

  12. “This post illustrates the difficulties the current government is facing ” – What difficulties? Let loose caged parrot on them,get evidences,threaten to expose them and shame them if they don’t resign.Once they resign,catch them and put them behind bars.A man with cajones who wants to clean the dirty system will know how to do it.Now that modi in power if he is really clean as you guys parrot,change the laws of how you appoint all important constitutional posts like EC,CAG and also bring a law that if any government official is found involved in shady dealings,they should first resign,clear their name

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