Senior retired military officers may no longer be able to land plum jobs in the private defence sector after a year of hanging their boots, if the government accepts a key recommendation made by a Parliamentary panel that wants the 'cooling off' period to be extended to five years.
A month after army chief General VK Singh alleged he was offered a Rs 14-crore bribe by a retired lieutenant general to buy "substandard" trucks for the army in 2010, the Standing Committee on Defence said it was of the “strong view” that officers who retire as brigadier and above should be forbidden from joining the defence sector for five years.
"Urgent initiatives in this regard should be taken by the defence ministry," the committee said.
At present, officers are barred from taking up jobs in the defence sector for one year after their retirement. The government had earlier reduced the mandatory 'cooling off' period from two years to one year.
The panel noted that some retired defence officers act as middlemen to facilitate defence deals.
It hinted that extending the 'cooling off' period would make it difficult for defence companies to hire retired officials with connections to influence deals. The panel said the move would help in addressing the problems created by blacklisting of defence companies.
The defence ministry had in March blacklisted six vendors — including four foreign defence contractors — for their alleged involvement in the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) scam in 2009. The army was banking on some of the blacklisted firms for artillery guns and tank ammunition. The panel said, “Blacklisting of companies results in blacklisting of rare technologies and solution in this regard needs to be found.”