Assam Rifles brass under scanner for lapses in deal

NEW DELHI: The top brass of Assam Rifles is under the scanner after a government inquiry found major discrepancies in the manner in which a tender for the construction of training facilities was awarded to favour a particular private company, disregarding norms and rules.

The inquiry, which relates to discrepancies between September 2018 and March 2019, has resulted in action being initiated against the identified officials, including the director general of the force and its chief vigilance officer.

The Assam Rifles (AR) is in a unique position –– it is administered by the home ministry but its officers’ cadre comes from the Army. Details of the inquiry have been shared with the defence ministry and the officials could face a formal chargesheet.

Sources told ET that the director general of AR –– a three-star Lt Gen from the Army –– has been identified in the inquiry as having been instrumental in awarding a Rs 18-crore contract to a private contract by unjustly disqualifying the competition and fast-tracking the process. Queries sent by ET to the Army, the defence ministry as well as the Ministry of Home Affairs were not responded to.


The matter relates to a tender by AR for the construction of a composite indoor shooting range (CISR) at Dimapur. This inquiry report has raised serious questions on the role of the DG, Assam Rifles, the chief vigilance officer and the Integrated Financial Officer (IFA) in bypassing norms to award the contract to a particular firm, while illegally disqualifying two other companies from the competition.

All officials had been asked to explain their position, with sources saying that their responses are being studied and the next step of readying a formal chargesheet to take disciplinary and administrative action could be taken.

The inquiry has noted that two companies shortlisted for the tender have been found to be ‘being owned by husband and wife’ and that such ‘related party bids do not ensure sufficient competition’.

The inquiry report is believed to have pointed out that the tender was signed within a matter of days to favour a particular company by rushing through the procedure of confirmation of technical ability and getting financial sanctions. In particular, the inquiry says that the DG, Assam Rifles, violated norms by presiding over the tender finalisation, saying that he “approved his own recommendations” by doing so.

In another violation of norms, the conditions for payments were also modified post the signing, giving the winning company a 30% advance payment in contravention to the original conditions, the inquiry report has said.

The case could invoke serious consequences, given the zero tolerance policy of the government. It is yet not clear if an external agency could be brought in to take the process ahead.

Raised in 1835, AR is the oldest para military force in the country, with its headquarters at Shillong. It was deployed exclusively in the northeast to guard the Indo-Myanmar Border, spread over 1,631km.

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