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AK Antony's tenure under cloud as more defence scams surface


Surya Gangadharan, Pallavi Ghosh, CNN-IBN
Feb 19, 2013 at 06:55pm IST

New Delhi: Many defence deals signed during Defence Minister AK Antony's tenure are under probe. In 2006, an FIR was filed over alleged kickbacks in the Barak missile deal and the Navy war room leak case. In 2007, malpractices were reported in the supply of rations to troops in high altitude areas. In 2009, Singapore Technologies and Israel Military Industries were blacklisted over alleged corruption. This was also the year when the Adarsh Housing Society scandal came to light. In 2011, the Sukna Cantonment land scandal emerged while Czech truck maker Tatra was blacklisted over bribery charges in 2012.

The latest to hit him is the AgustaWestland chopper deal. Antony, however, has ruled out resignation over the issue. He also rejected reports of divide within the government over scrapping the deal. The Defence Minister said that the government was waiting for evidence from Italy to build a case and that it can't proceed on the basis of media reports.

ALSO SEE From Jeep scandal to helicopter deal: A brief history of defence scams

Antony's absence at the meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his British counterpart David Cameron sparked rumours. However, government sources later said that Antony's presence was not required as no defence deals were being signed.

Meanwhile, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath on Tuesday said that the government was ready for a JPC probe into the deal. The main opposition party, the BJP, however, is cold to the idea.

ALSO SEE How Indian armed forces buy their million-dollar weapons

Defence scams:

2012: Tatra trucks scam

Deal: 600 trucks bought from British firm Tatra Sipox; Scam: Rs 14 crore bribe allegedly offered by Lieutenant (Retd) Tejinder Singh.

2009: Arjun tank supply scam

Deal: Component supplies for Arjun battle tanks bought from SIFL and AMW-MGM; Scam: 12 per cent kickbacks paid.

2006: Barak missile scam

Deal: Seven missile systems worth Rs 1,150 crore bought from Israel; Scam: Cost overruns; objections of experts ignored.

2006: Armoured recovery vehicles

Deal: Purchase of armoured recovery vehicles from Czechoslovakian firm ZTS Martin; Scam: two cases related to kickbacks paid to Nandas.

2003: Denel Arms scam

Deal: Contract for buying 1,200 rifles from South African firm Denel; Scam: Denel allegedly paid Rs 20 crore to obtain confidential documents.

1999: Coffingate

Deal: Coffins imported for martyrs from US firm Buritrol and Baizarces; Scam: Poor quality aluminium caskets bought at exorbitant rates.

1999: Kargil scam

Deal: Procurement of arms and ammunition from various companies; Scam: CAG noted many lapses in purchase of defence equipments worth Rs 1,762 crore.

1987: Bofors scam

Deal: 400 Howitzer guns worth Rs 6,994 crore bought from Swedish company Bofors; Scam: Rs 64 crore kickbacks paid to swing deal.

How a defence deal is signed

- Contracts worth more than Rs 500 crore have to be cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security. Armed forces have financial powers of Rs 150 crore.

- The military formulates a qualitative requirement of the weapon it wants.

- Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), headed by Defence Minister, accepts the necessity for proposed procurement.

- DAC approval is followed by the ministry floating a global tender.

- Technical Evaluation Committee evaluates the technical bids and shortlists them for trial.

- Field trials are carried out by the user service which then recommends those that meet requirements.

- Technical Oversight Committee scrutinises the procedure to ensure fair trial and selection was done.

- Contract Negotiation Committee recommends conclusion of a contract at a negotiated price. The proposal is sent to the Cabinet Committee on Security, headed by the PM, for approval after which a contract is signed.

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