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IAF officers misused allowance for foreign trips worth Rs 82 lakh: CAG

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IAF officers misused allowance for foreign trips worth Rs 82 lakh: CAG
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According to Comptroller and Auditor General, a number of Indian Air Force (IAF) officers violated the defence travel regulations by claiming allowances after visiting foreign countries, causing a loss of more than Rs 82 lakh to the exchequer.

As per regulations, military officers can claim leave travel concessions (LTC) only for visits within India when they are on leave.

“We examined records pertaining to the period 2010-15 and found that in 49 cases, IAF officers availed of LTC while visiting a foreign country,” read the CAG report tabled in Parliament.

The national auditor said it reflected the “systemic failure of internal control” in the IAF.

The CAG report said the leave travel claims of the officers were entertained despite the journey from origin to a foreign country not even touching any Indian station.

“Admitting such LTC claims and payments amounting to Rs 82.58 lakh was not only irregular but also in gross violation of the government policy on LTC,” the report read.

Many CAG reports have highlighted the abuse of LTC provisions by government servants.

The report said IAF officers obtained permission from the authorities to go on leave to foreign countries with the condition that expenditure would be borne by the officers themselves.

“Subsequently, the officers were applying for all-India LTC under travel regulations for the period of sanctioned leave,” the report said.

The bills of these officers were cleared though not admissible under travel regulations, it added.

In its reply to the audit findings, the defence ministry said in January this year that an internal inquiry into the matter found there was ambiguity in the interpretation of the rules – the CAG did not find the reply convincing. The ministry also said full recoveries would be made from the officers concerned along with penal interest.