Kargil Coffin Scam: George Fernandes Gets Clean Chit

In the 2002 Coffingate scame related to Kargil War, the CBI has prepared its chargesheet in which three Indian Army officials and a US company have been named, with no mention of then defence minister George Fernandes, whose reputation was badly damaged by allegation of a scam at that time, said media reports.

According to reports, the three officials of India Army named in the chargesheet include Major General (retired) Arun Roye, Colonel (retired) SK Malik and a serving officer Colonel FB Singh. American manufacturer of the aluminium caskets is the fourth accused in the case.

Major General (retired) Roye was the Defence Attache in Washington when the caskets were ordered.

The caskets were reported purchased at a price many times higher than their actual cost and the issue intensely embarrassed the BJP-led NDA government.

In 2004, when Congress-led UPA government was voted to power, it lodged an FIR in the case.

It may be mentioned that the Defence Ministry imported aluminium caskets from US-based funeral Service Company Buitron and Baiza at the time of Kargil War. A total of 500 aluminium caskets were imported to transport the bodies of slain soldiers.

The casket was bought at a price of $ 2,500, reportedly 13 times higher than the actual cost. Furthermore, it was found that the lot of caskets supplied were heavier than required, and were prone to develop leaks.

There have been allegations that all established procedures of defence procurement were flouted to award the contract to the US-based firm.

The government, too, allegedly incurred a loss of over $1,87,000 in the purchase.

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