The defence ministry frittered Rs 587 crore on dud missiles to fill up the order books of a public sector undertaking, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has revealed.
It compromised the Army’s requirements by buying 4,100 Milan 2T anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) only to favour Hyderabad-based Bharat Dynamics Limited. The missile lacks the ability to engage enemy tanks at the desired range.
The procurement was scrapped in May 2007 after it was found the missile did not have the desired range of 2,000 metres. It could hit targets 1,850 metres away but was not effective beyond that. The auditor found the case was reopened in February 2008 after BDL assured the missile’s range would be 2,000 metres.
The missile failed trials again. Furthermore, there were problems with its weight and flight time. But the defence ministry concluded a contract for the missiles in December 2008 after BDL union grumbled that non-placement of an order would result in redeployment of work force. It did so by amending the general staff qualitative requirements (GSQR).
“The Army was aware that an adversary was having ATGM of range longer than Milan 2T and as such reducing the standards of GSQR was not desirable. The Army in fact wanted ATGM of even longer range so as to avoid risk of exposure,” the CAG said in a report tabled in Parliament on Friday.
The auditor said the missiles were bought despite the availability of better systems in the global market. The ministry justified the purchase arguing that the ATGMs held by the Army in May 2008 were far below the operational requirements.