CBI blacklist stalls Army's towed guns trials
With the CBI recommending a fresh list of defence firms for blacklisting due to their names figuring in corruption cases, the Army's towed guns trials now stand indefinitely postponed for the third time since 2002.delhi Updated: Jul 14, 2010 21:09 IST
With the CBI recommending a fresh list of defence firms for blacklisting due to their names figuring in corruption cases, the Army's towed guns trials now stand indefinitely postponed for the third time since 2002.
"The towed guns trial that were to happen this month will not happen immediately. It could take a few more months," Defence Ministry officials said on Wednesday.
Singapore Technology Kinetics, an artillery guns manufacturer, has been named in the list of defence firms sent by CBI to Defence Ministry for blacklisting due to their alleged involvement in corruption cases against former Ordnance Factory Board chief Sudipto Ghosh.
The Singapore firm was competing in the towed guns trials of the Army against UK firm BAE Systems.
The Army had projected a requirement of 1,180 155mm/52 calibre towed guns about a decade ago to replace the ageing Bofors guns.
The requirement was projected as the Army had not purchased even a single artillery gun in the last two decades since the Bofors corruption scandal broke out, after its guns were bought by India in the late 1980s.
The initial need of 400 guns would be met through a global tender along with transfer of technology, under which a the remainder 780 guns would be produced under licence by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).
Four vendors had submitted tender documents to the Defence Ministry, of which SWS Defence AB of Sweden (later taken over by BAE) and Singapore Technology Kinetics were shortlisted for participation in the 'No Cost - No Commitment' trials to be held in Pokhran firing ranges in Rajasthan.
The guns from the two firms for the trials were required to fire the ammunition provided by the Ordnance Factory.
The CBI had recently written to the Defence Ministry listing Singapore Technologies Kinetics, Israel Military Industries, Zurich based Rheinmetall Air Defence, Russian Cooperation Defence, Delhi based T S Kisan and Company and Ludhiana based R K Machines Tools Ltd for blacklisting.