The Defence Ministry has advised the chiefs of the three Services to appear before the Public Accounts Committee, which wants to question them in connection with the CAG report on alleged irregularities in the Canteen Stores Department.
The chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force have been called on January 12 by the PAC for a hearing on the Committee on Canteen Stores Department (CSD) based on the audit report which has pointed out irregularities in the supply chain management of rations in the Army.
The three chiefs were advised to appear before the PAC and provide assistance to the Committee as desired by it, Defence Ministry sources said.
This would be the first time that the chiefs of armed forces would appear before the PAC as usually the Defence Secretary attends such meetings of the Parliamentary Committees along with Vice Chiefs of the Services.
Army Chief General V K Singh had earlier asked if there was an "extra requirement" for the three chiefs to appear before the PAC as usually the Ministry sends the people concerned with the senior officials whenever the Committee writes to it.
Army sources had earlier said that the Service chiefs were unlikely to appear before the Committee and instead Vice Chiefs and Quarter Master General equivalents would represent their forces.
Highlighting the irregularities in the CSD, the CAG had said, "The existing procedure for provisioning of dry rations failed to assess the requirement realistically. The failure was mainly due to systemic deficiencies due to which different quantities were worked out at different echelons applying different parameters..."
The report had said that the risk of existence of "cartels" affecting the quantity and quality of rations is too serious to be ignored.
"The Ministry of Defence should set clear targets regarding expansion of vendor base and progress should be closely monitored. The list of vendors should be put on the website of the Army Service Corps," it had said.
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His remarks followed the Supreme Court on August 25