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Coffin Scam

By snehahiro Sep 18, 2013 471 Words

After the armed conflict that took place in 1999 between India and Pakistan in the Kargil sector of India, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) found abnormalities in the purchase of Coffins for the Martyrs of the Kargil War. The nature of the irregularities committed in clearing certain defense deals mentioned in the CAG’s report showed large irregularities were committed in the purchase of coffins by the Army during the Kargil operation. The caskets that were bought from US-based funeral Service Company Buitron and Baiza for the slain soldiers in the Kargil war were allegedly purchased at a price higher than the actual cost. The then ruling government National Democratic Alliance had purchased 500 caskets worth 2500 dollars each which was presumed to be thirteen times the original amount. The government had incurred a heavy loss of 1, 87,000 dollars in the entire transaction.  However the ambassador from both the countries India and United States of America had declared in writing that those caskets had a cost worth 2,768 dollars each. The scrutiny of records by the CAG showed that some middlemen made huge profit by supplying the coffins at highly inflated rates. Of course, the supplier on his own could not have been able to palm off substandard "imported" coffins without the help of willing insiders who must have been bribed for clearing the deal. The Army top brass is not usually involved in the purchase of defence material and equipment. The placement of orders is routed through civilian agencies. The investigation was passed on to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which registered a case in June 2006, the case was registered under sections 420 (cheating), 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The CBI filed a charge sheet in August 2009.  Three major Indian Army officers and a company based in the United States were named in the charge sheet. The three Army officers named were Major General Arun Roye, Colonel SK Malik and Colonel FB Singh.  Victor Baiza, a US National who supplied the aluminium casket and body bags to the Indian Army was also named in the charge sheet. Surprisingly, the then defense minister George Fernandes was not included in the report and was later given a clean chit from the scam. There was a huge uproar and rage in India after the Coffin Scam was unearthed, there is another aspect that needs to be explained in context to the India Pakistan Kargil War Coffin Scam. India is now counted among the fastest growing economies in the world.  And the culprits should be awarded harshest possible punishment for their role in the despicable deal.

Smt. Chandibai Himathmal Mansukhani College

Name: - Sneha Hiro
Class: - TYBMM Journalism
Roll no: - 13
Subject: - Reporting
Submitted to: - Prof. Krsna Kukreja

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