It is because they do not get the protection they deserve, those who see wrongdoing rarely report it. But if the government and other relevant agencies start doing what Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has done, whistleblowers will have nothing to be afraid of.
Prakash Singh is a 53-year-old former official of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). In 2012, the DRDO sent him on compulsory retirement on charges that he was a “perpetual troublemaker”.
The truth is that Singh had complained against graft in the DRDO involving 22 officials of the defence research agency.
Singh had informed the CBI of the alleged irregularities acting on which the elite investigation agency forwarded the complaint to DRDO’s vigilance wing.
His complaint included three senior functionaries: Manas Kumar Mandal (director, institute of psychological research), Dr Anil Kumar Maini (director, Laster Science and Technology Centre) and Dr Arun Kumar (director, personnel, at the headquarters).
He accused all of them of financial irregularities and malpractices in recruitment procedures. One of Singh’s allegations was that officials recruited their family members in the DRDO.
Singh also said that the DRDO falsely claimed the success of a project but a critical Rs.16 crore Russian imported equipment meant for the project was destroyed in a “mysterious fire”.
According to this report
, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) had indicted Arun Kumar in the recruitment scam and recommended penalty against him but the DRDO did not take any action. Though Singh approached the then defence minister A.K. Antony against his termination, his ministry only asked the DRDO’s vigilance wing for a response.
In 2015, Singh met Parrikar and narrated his plight besides updating him with the alleged corruption at DRDO.
This time the MoD acted quickly, and on the advice of the CVC dropped all charges against Prakash Singh. But Manohar Parrikar is a no-nonsense man; he also ordered a thorough probe into Singh’s allegations and action against those who harassed him. The MoD order states: “Those who trumped up false charges and committed a number of procedural irregularities with the single-minded objective of harassing Prakash Singh need to be identified and taken to task for their malafide action.”