Pune: In a classic case of harassment of a whistleblower, who had exposed a security breach, the office of an Army officer was sealed on the orders of a high ranking Army official.
Earlier, on March 13, 2018 Sakal Times had carried a report that said the CBI was going to probe a Major General’s role in a security breach at VRDE.
As per the latest development, Lt Colonel NK Dubey found his office at the Ahmednagar-based DRDO’s Vehicle Research & Development Establishment (VRDE) sealed at around 5.30 pm on Tuesday evening. A letter was issued to him half an hour later, stating that Major General Ajay Gupta, Director of VRDE, has transferred him to the National Centre for Automotive Testing.
Despite the ongoing CBI inquiry against Gupta in the security breach matter, he was recently given an extension after completing two years at VRDE through an order issued by Secretary DD R&D and Chairman of DRDO Dr S Christopher on May 18, 2018. Surprisingly, within a two working days of this order, Gupta shunted Dubey out of his office.
According to Dubey, he was shunted for reporting the security breach to Army Headquarters and CBI. Dubey reported about a 30 minute meeting conducted by Gupta on February 15, 2018 with two foreign nationals and a non-resident Indian, along with officials of a private company, without taking clearance from the Directorate of Vigilance and Security, New Delhi, as is mandatory for DRDO officials.
Earlier, Dubey reported the security lapses at VRDE, including inadequate guard posts, unavailability of QRT vehicle, unavailability of routes to do perimeter patrolling, inadequate boundary lights, etc. to DRDO, after which a letter dated May 22, 2017 was written by Gupta to Army HQ to transfer Dubey. The Army headquarters, however, refused to do so. (Army HQ letter available with Sakal Times)
According to Dubey, he has been targeted for exposing corruption and corrupt practices.He said,"Previously also, in 2017, Major General Gupta kept me out of office for around two months despite Army HQ refraining him from doing so. He received the letter on June 12 from Army HQ, but he sat on it till August as it was demi-official (person to person). Because of which i could join back only in August after being informed by Army HQ about the letter.He claimed that sealing his office and posting him out is an act of revenge against him for being a whistleblower in a number of previous cases against Gupta.
It is significant to note that in 2015, dozens of complaints were reported against Gupta for his deliberate acts and omissions of misconducts under CCS (Conduct) Rules 1964 and under the Army Act, criminal misconduct amounting to corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and criminal offences under IPC to then defence minister Manohar Parrikar. Gupta, then the Director of Vigilance and Security, DRDO HQ, New Delhi, was removed from his post and transferred to the office of Director General, Aeronmautical Systems, Bengaluru.
When questioned, Gupta said, “He (Dubey) is being relieved because there is an investigation against him for leakage of information which he was holding and gave to an unauthorised person outside the lab. Somebody has asked us to conduct an inquiry. He may influence the investigation and hence, he is being posted out.”
Responding to questions that Gupta sat on the Army HQ’s order overruling his decision to transfer Dubey, Gupta said, “DRDO is not under Army, DRDO is an independent organisation, which runs on the basis of its own rules and regulations. If the Army has posted him here, then there is a particular procedure which has to be followed as per DRDO rules. Even DRDO has written to the Army to post him back, I don’t know why the Army is not posting him back.”
When questioned about the VRDE security breach and complaint to CBI, Gupta replied, “I don’t know what you are talking about. I don’t want to talk further.”