Friday, March 25, 2011

Whistleblower Episode A Death Blow To Rafale?

Could the Indian government use the Aero India 2011 bribery scandal to eliminate Dassault from the IAF medium multirole combat aircraft (M-MRCA) competition and cancel the near-concluded Mirage-2000 upgrade contract? Possibly not. However, despite two separate assertions by the MoD that the episode (see last two posts) would not affect or delay the competition, sources reveal that nothing is off the table just yet. It should be said, however, that while the IAF has formally conveyed to the MoD its intention to bar Dassault's Posina V Rao, it has made no recommendation about Dassault at large. Nevertheless, that remains a sliver of a lifeline, given how episodes like these can escalate into a full-scale blacklisting.

If you thought this was a minor episode with no potential repercussions, you couldn't be more wrong. The implications are huge. There are several theories doing the rounds already -- of a larger cover-up by the IAF, of competitors goading the IAF to eliminate the French, of wanton indiscretions, you know the drill. As of now, however, Dassault insists that its Indian pointsperson, Posina V Rao, merely filed a complaint, and was being penalised for following rules. Obviously the IAF doesn't see it that way. Mr Rao apparently sees himself as a whistleblower caught in the decidedly delicate crossfire of turf battles between the IAF and MoD, a place no one wants to ever be caught in, least of all the representative of a foreign arms company. Legal options could be afoot, I'm told. The IAF feels it has fool-proof reasons to blackball the Dassault man, and will stick to its guns. For a company that has remained compulsively off the scandal radar and deliberately low-profile to a fault, this new episode is a true nightmare. So what now?

There are several questions, as always. One, PV Rao couldn't have made the complaint without the authorisation of his superiors in France -- so was this a high-level faux pas by a company with possibly more experience in light-stepping around Indian government turfs than any of the other competitors? Two, if Dassault was merely a whistleblower on an act of corruption, why is the IAF cutting off the man who filed the complaint? Three, is there more to the Dassault complaint than meets the eye? Four, has Dassault come out with all the facts of the episode, or is there more that is not being revealed? Five, why wasn't the base commander of Yelahanka considered an appropriate person to file the complaint with? Six, why has the MoD not fleshed out its stand on the episode? Seven, how did the other vendors face the corrupt IAF officer -- did they bribe him, or were they not solicited at all -- and if they did bribe him, will that matter now?

24 comments :

daseja said...

By and large, from the reports I have read, including yours, Rafale is a very good choice for MMRCA.

If one episode between PVR vs IAF vs MoD mars the selection, it is a pity.

Arun said...

Are yar ye sab kyun natak kar rahe hai, Dassault wale bhi pagal hai, kya jarurat thi chillane ki thik hai na 20,000 Rs diye acchi jagah k liye to chupchap de dene k aur kam karneka , pehlesehi MoD ko karan chahiye Rafale aur Tyfoon ko barr karne k liye. Aise issue uthakar dono fighter pe ban laga denge aur 'Hornet' final kar denge . MoD aur IAF walo ki ladhai me fas gaye sab
k sab aur IAF walo ka bhi behavior pata nahi chal raha apna admi pakda gaya to itna shor karne ki kya jarurat hai dudh ka dudh aur pani ka pani hone dete...
Bechare plane ko race se mat hatayo yar ye pro-America wale India ko dobara gulam banayenge France se Engine Radar Sub-marine UCAV in sab ki achchi technology mil sakti hai aur US sirf customer banakar lutega tab pata chalega....

Anonymous said...

Somehow i think, the IAF is at fault and some of its karyakarta in very top positions are involved. Remember the IAF top brass are Indians, born and brought up in India (The 3rd most corrupt country in the world). And arms deals done in the name of national security are the perfect pretence to fill swiss bank accounts. I just hope that IAF somehow does not manage to select the MIG or worse still re issues the MRCA tender.

Does any one know the limitations of RTI in matters related to Arms deals?

Cexs fable & gas

RAT said...

WOULD BE A PITY AS INDIA AT HIS STAGE DESPERATELY NEEDS UPGRADE MIRAGE 2000 AS WELL THE RAFALE WILL BE AN ADDED ADVANTAGE AS NO GULF COUNTY OPERATES IT ALSO IT HAS THE POTENTIAL OF GETTING DEVELOPED FURTHER ALSO WE SHOULD NOT FORGET THAT KAVERI ENGINE IS GETTING ASSISTANCE FROM TURBOMECHA AS WEL AS THE DHRUV ENGINE ALSO WHAT ABOUT SCORPENE AS AFTERMATHS OF BARRING THE COMPANY INCIDENT CAN HAVE DIRE SIDE EFFECTS

kvraghav said...

Going by the same logic, lockheed martin also should be blacklisted since the first guy asked to leave india was a lock mart employee over some classified MMRCA file,isint it??

Anonymous said...

well,, I hope the retaliations against Rao will not have repercussions against Dassault.

Gautam said...

At this rate this is going to end up the same way was the artillery tender. It'll be cancelled, retendered, cancelled again, and in 5 years every fighter manufacturer in the world will have been blacklisted on the most FLIMSY grounds.

And as has been happening since 2005, our Air Force will become a Ground Force as more and more planes retire every year without replacement.

Hurray for Mr. CLEAN AK Antony! He is truly a worthy candidate to replace Manmohan Singh! Both are equally slow to act, impotent and incompetent. But since they are from minority communities and their party claims to be secular(PS: Sikh riots never happened, okay?) our wise(haha) public will still vote for them.

The IAF should just give more scandal-free 'repeat orders' of Su-30MKIs instead. Thank God at least that deal was signed in the NDA era!

Anonymous said...

Very weird ...
There was the same kind of story in south korea, a few years ago, when Dassault was ROKAF's favorite .. Eventually they bought US planes...

BigLulli said...

If its any consolation Rafale scored its first kill. I know, a S-2 Galeb but still....

Anonymous said...

We are basically going to buy the Eurofighter or Rafale

US planes are mostly going to be avoided

So if Rafale is booted out for a flimsy reason Then IAF will have to pay an exorbitant price for the Eurofighter

Mirage 2000 ugrade is OUR NEED not the French need .

We better drop this foolish attitude

Anonymous said...

indian babu want american bird
scam scam nothing else!!!!!

Anonymous said...

THIS IS WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN WHEN U INVITE AMERICANS.

Indian said...

This is nothing but an intelligent act of those IAF and MOD officers & babus, who are keenly interested in looking after US interests in India...who are already bought out by CIA+GD+Lockhed Martin ...by cash or kind (like getting an higher study opportunity of their kids in US Universities).
This was a trap ...If Mr Rao had bribed that IAF officer ..that would have recorded and later published in media ..when Daussault was in final stage of negotiation with MOD...the result..RAFALE out of the contest...now, that did not happened...so this is the other way of taking Rafale out of the bid..what we are seeing ?
I am surprised why no one from Indian civilized society or some one from journalism field has no guts to ask Defence Minister or PM ...that instead of Axing the corrupt IAF officer...why the Mr. Rao is being blacked out?

Remember...it is not that GD or LM will get USD 10 Bn business....no that's not US is eying for...it is the HUGE strategic DEPENDENCY INDIA/IAF WILL HAVE ON US POLICYMAKERS ..NOT TO ANGER THEM BY ANY ACT OF OUR SOVERGINITY LIKE POKHRAN 2 BLASTS ...IS US'S PRIME OBJECTIVE.

Anonymous said...

ARE WE SUCH DIMWITS?
DASSAULT IS NOT A NEWCOMER IN THIS GAME. THEY MUST BE USED TO CRORES BEING HANDED OVER TO MoD BABUS - SO HOW COME THIS PIDLY 20K SEEMS TO PINCH. EVEN RAO MUST HAVE BEEN RECRUITED ON HIS CREDENTIALS TO BUM SUCK THE MoD BABUS ELSE, HE WOLD HAVE BEEN A PORN STAR IN A B GRADE MOVIE AND NOT THE DASSULT STAR. A) HANG THE WG CDR IF HE HAS TAKEN 20K. LIKE THE BABUS - THE SERVICES DONT ACCEPT THUGS IN THEIR FOLD. B) NEXT AND MOST IMPORTANT -INVESTIGATE WHY RAO WHO WOULD HAVE KNOWN SERVICE & MoD PROTOCOL (THATS WHY THE CHAP MUST HAVE GOT HIS JOB)SHORTCIRCUITED THE ROUTE FOR JUST 20K. CAN UNDERSTAND IF HE WAS ASKED TO COMPROMISE HIS IZZAT OR THE DEMAND WAS A COUPLE OF CRORES. EVEN A MID SIZED MANUFACTURING COMPANY WILL NOT SQUEAL IF ASKED FOR A FEW LAKHS TO BE IN THE RIGHT PLACE SO HOW COME DASSULT SUDDENLY GETS HOLIER THAN THOU? SOMETHING FISHY BABY - THIS CANNOT BE TAKEN WITH A PINCH OF DA-SALT

Mr. Ra said...

More and more of Rafale, F-16/18 and EFT will be required in Libya and vicinity and to save Europe. So perhaps none of them is further interested in the MMRCA and wish to keep it in abeyance on the basis of some flimsy concoction.

India should not cancel this project but as alternative shall hasten the LCA-II and AMCA and may further produce the SU-30 MKI-Super in case of urgency due to depleting numbers of squadrons.

Anonymous said...

I call BS on this one. Someone at the top in IAF is getting a cut of the bribes. Hang them all!

Anonymous said...

Wonder if this is a chanakian move my GoI to renegotiate M2K upgrade fiasco with many disgruntled voices claiming daylight robbery....

Chintan said...

This sounds like conjecture at this point Shiv - nobody has said that this episode is likely to affect our relationship to Rafale but if it does actually affect the relationship, what does it say about our own defense dealings and attitudes? We blacklist a company because one of their employees complained that one of our folks asked for a bribe! Doesn't anyone see anything wrong with that statement? Or like @Arun at 11:15 am, is the entire nation so comfortable with the notion that paying bribes is a totally acceptable cost of doing business in India?

Anonymous said...

Is the fate of 15 billion $ competition being decided by a Corrupt "Wg Cdr." who was denied the opportunity to may paltry 20,000 Rs. thru illegal means? The Navy sold the nation for a song in Groshkov deal just for a fling with an old gori chamri. Army is frequently in the news for land scams, food and ration scams, golf scams, mafia scam etc. etc. Now Air force has opened it's innings. The armed forces are another sarkari outfit out to make as much hay as possible. All these multi billion $ defense deals are only a means to steal the nation's meager wealth. We also want to know how so many corrupt people are getting recruited n promoted to high ranks? Is it pure nepotism which decides who will be recruited n promoted in the armed forces? It seems so as they r all birds of the same feather. Our armed forces are a relic of our colonial past, particularly the Indian Army. It is high time the armed forces went in for a major re engineering to overhaul a rotting system.

Hrishikesh said...

I would say to the MMRCA program.

The questions which beg answers are - why would Dassault India chief raise an issue in this big a contract unless something were seriously wrong and why would an IAF officer ask for only Rs 20,000 to give a better placement, again for this big a show?

Going by past instances, both the forces and vendors are corrupt. Going by this and past incidents to rock the MMRCA acquisition, the procurement process is already compromised. So much so for the probity brought by Mr Antony. The game is dirty and the loser will be the MMRCA program and nation at large.

I will be highly surprised if hush money to the tune of throusands of crores changes hands in this deal, or might have already changed hands. Sigh, India.

Gautam said...

The armed forces are not blameless, but ultimately it is the civilian MoD that controls the defence aquisition process. They are the ones by and large for the lethargic progress, controversies and cancellation of defence deals; just look at MMRCA: Even after the evaluation process is complete it's taking years just to make a shortlist. Slow, impotent and corrupt through and through.

AK Antony is just another MMS in the making. In this government those who are not corrupt are lazy, ignorant and incompetent.

Abhi said...

It will be a bad event if raphale is shown the way out.She is the most suitable fighter for india. Check the latest wiki leaks, US is not going to give any meaningful TOT. They want the relation to be a buyer-seller. EF is too coastly, limited ground attack capability according to UK itself.
This leaves raphale alone, which can deliver atomic weapons also.

Any way with in a decade all 4.5 gen generation aircrafts will be meaning less. We need to develop aircrafts with can operate in high risk, integrated air defense environment. We could have used tejas for the time being, Man we almost developed it. If the production of tejas started 5 years back, we need not go for MMRCA

Anonymous said...

Kill the messenger! :P

Anonymous said...

One fine morning the Ministry of Defence got a nice package from Pentagon. Well turned out, it was Defence Ministry's top secret file regarding how to conduct and negotiate the MMRCA dear. Story went that after obtaining this file THE RAYTHEON COMPANY sent the file to Pentagon and through beaurcratic mistake Pentagon sent it back to MoD. Now this didn't get F-16 banned, so why should the Rafale be banned?