A senior scientist with the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO), who wrote to the Prime Minister and Defence Minister and bout how the organisation had nominated an allegedly tainted scientist for an award, has been served a show cause notice. The DRDO has asked the whistleblower scientist why disciplinary action should not be taken against him.
The whistleblower scientist in his representation to the Ministry of Defence and the Prime Minister’s Office on 19 September had alleged that despite an ongoing probe by the Central Vigilance Commission against Naresh Kumar, who is with Pune based Research and Development Establishment (R&DE), the latter had been nominated for the scientist of the year award 2014.
The whistleblower scientist also mentioned that questions were also raised in Parliament in December 2014 and May 2015 regarding the misuse of funds by R&DE, which is headed by Naresh Kumar. The whistleblower further said that a writ petition was also pending in the Mumbai High Court seeking inquiry into the alleged corrupt practices of Kumar.
Soon after his correspondence with the PMO, the whistleblower was served a notice by the DRDO which cited a recent official instruction from cabinet secretary P.K. Sinha that proscribes directly approaching the PMO.
However, within five days of his correspondence with the PMO, the whistleblower was served with a notice by the DRDO, which cited a recent official instruction from Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha that proscribes directly approaching the PMO. The Sunday Guardian has accessed both the complaint and the subsequent order of the DRDO. Kumar, however, was not given the award following the whistleblower’s complaint to the PMO and the Defence Minister’s office.
Scientists and officials working with DRDO alleged officials with political links were often allowed to use DRDO resources as per their personal wishes.
“In the past, representations sent to the PMO and Defence Minister notifying them of corruption in the organisation were seldom acknowledged. However, that has changed under the present government due to which corrupt officials are worried and are trying to stifle the flow of information from the labs and offices to the PMO and the Defence Minister. If a whistleblower is served a notice for bringing out a corrupt practice in the open, no one will dare to speak the truth,” a DRDO scientist said.