The Indian Defense Minister AK Antony confirmed to Parliament on Tuesday, the recommendation of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for the blacklisting of six arms firms by the Ministry of Defense. Four of these firms, Singapore Technology (Singapore Technologies), Israeli Military Industries (Israel Military Industries), TS Kissan and Company Private Limited and RK Machine Tools Private Limited, are the subject of such a recommendation for the second time, after they were first blacklisted in June last year, along with three other firms, Media Architecture Private Limited of Singapore, BVT of Poland and HYT Engineering of India.
Two other firms, Rheinmetall Air Defence of Germany and a Russian firm called Cooperation Defence have also been recommended for blacklisting this time around.
All of these firms have been implicated in the corruption case involving the former Director General of Ordnance Factories and Chairman of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), Sudipta Ghosh, in May last year.
Of the above firms, the CBI has pressed charges against only two of them, TS Kissan and Company Private Limited and RK Machine Tools Private Limited. While the former is accused of paying INR 3,000,000 to Ghosh for getting orders from the the Heavy Vehicle Factory at Avadi, the latter is accused of paying INR 250,000 to the him for getting orders from Heavy Vehicle Factory at Avadi as well as the Ordnance Factory, Chanda.
According to the Parliamentary answer, the ‘CBI report indicates that there is a prima facie or circumstantial evidence of payment of illegal gratification to Shri Sudipto Ghosh’ by the other other mentioned firms as well. The ‘CBI has indicated in the report that illegal gratification had been paid to Shri Sudipto Ghosh on behalf of some other firms also and that some of them may be liable for prosecution at a later stage depending on the evidence to be collected during the ongoing investigation’. The matter is under further investigation by CBI.
The statement issued by the ministry on the Parliamentary answer also says no other officers of the OFB have been implicated by the CBI investigations.
The statement is less than clear about the the value of the orders given to three of the firms, with Israel Military Industries getting order worth ‘US$ 91,24,928, EURO 11,30, 677,545, Rs. (INR) 372,29,21,000’, TS Kissan and Company Private Limited getting orders worth ‘Rs. (INR) 70,50,04,701’ and RK Machine Tools Private Limited receiving orders worth ‘Rs. (INR) 53,83,233,871’.
The statement ended by saying, “The CBI report is being examined in the Ministry. Further action in the matter will be taken after obtaining the advice of CVC (Central Vigilance Commission) and the Ministry of Law.”