New Delhi: Reacting to the revelations in the Tatra trucks deal, former Army Chief General (Retd) Shankar Roy Chowdhury has blamed the Defence Ministry saying it has kept all previous Army chiefs in the dark. Speaking to IBN18 Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai, General (Retd) Shankar Roy Chowdhury said, "The Army Chief was not informed about the pricing, there should be better integration between the Army Chief and the Defence Ministry."
Following is the transcript of the interview:
Rajdeep Sardesai: Why didn't any of you object to the pricing and the method of the pricing? Why didn't any of you red-flag the role of BEML? Are you saying the role of BEML comes in the last 10 years or has it existed in the same way over the last 30 years?
General (Retd) Shankar Roy Chowdhury: No, no, it must have existed for a very long time.
Rajdeep Sardesai: So why did you all append your signatures? Why didn't you all turn whistleblowers if I may ask sir?
General (Retd) Shankar Roy Chowdhury: We did not append the signatures I suppose because the financials details of the pricing were not really clear to us. We were merely demanding vehicles for the Army with us doing an excellent job.
Rajdeep Sardesai: You were not given the financial details. The Army Chief did not know the financial details of the BEML Tatra deal?
General (Retd) Shankar Roy Chowdhury: The Army Chief when it was introduced into service was given the performance of the Tatra which met the GSQ of the Army. The details of the contract were worked out in the Ministry of Defence and based on that orders were placed for Tatra trucks. Price is not a factor with the Army.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Price is not a factor?
General (Retd) Shankar Roy Chowdhury: No, it is the province of the Ministry of Defence and the defence PSU with him, they negotiate.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Should that change sir?
General (Retd) Shankar Roy Chowdhury: If the Army is included in the defence negotiations, I'm sure it will change and that is one more argument for proper integration of the Ministry of Defence and the service headquarters, which has not come through or if it has come through in a very cosmetic manner.