Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Indian Army Says Ex-General An Arms Agent For Tatra, Vectra

Pinaka & Smerch MBRL systems on Tatra trucks | Photo: Shiv Aroor
Has the Indian Army inadvertently exposed malfeasance by two defence firms, without actually intending to do so? Well it certainly seems like it. Let me take you through this step by step.

On March 2, INDIA TODAY, India's largest weekly news magazine fronted a story about a bug scare in Defence Minister's A.K. Antony's office. We at Headlines Today picked up the story and put it on air. The story was denied almost instantly by the Army and MoD, but was followed up by virtually every news organisation, channel and wire agency. The story made a mention of  suspicions that "off-the-air" interceptors had been employed by the Army to snoop on communications in the national capital, completely in violation of the law. On March 4, The Indian Express led with the story. A day later, the Army issued another denial, this time more comprehensive. My head still hurts when I read the denial, so I'll put it up here, in full, for you to see. Trust me, read it fully:
The Story on Maligning the Army is a fabricated fiction and people responsible are some disgruntled officers, retired and serving, whose sole aim is to create a mistrust between the Army and the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The Military Intelligence has the mandate to routinely debug the offices of senior functionaries of the MoD and the Army. In a routine check, some abnormality was noticed in the Raksha Mantri’s office, which was brought to the notice of the Defence Secretary. Further checks carried out revealed that the voltage drop noticed was due to malfunctioning of the instrument. The Army does not carry out “Of the Air Monitoring” but seeks the assistance of the IB, if it finds the need. The Monitoring equipment is in the possession of the Signal Intelligence and is deployed along the borders and in Counter Insurgency areas. This equipment is under the control of the Director General Defence Intelligence Agency(DG DIA) and not under the Military Intelligence. The present story has been put out by Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh, who was the Ex DGDIA and who has been earlier questioned on the purchase of the “Of the air Monitoring System”, without sanction by the technically empowered committee. This officer has also been an allottee in Adarsh Housing Society in Mumbai and has also offered bribe on behalf of Tatra and Vectra Limited, which supplies vehicles to BEML. The Officer along with some disgruntled serving officers of the military intelligence, against whom disciplinary and administrative actions is in the pipeline has worked out this fictitious story. The Army strongly denies this and take strong exception to such salacious and malafide stories, coming out as news.
Now BEML produces a variety of Czech vehicle-maker Tatra's trucks under license and has done so for long (many of the Army's weapon systems, including the Pinaka and Smerch MBRL pictured above, are based on Tatra vehicles). More recently, on Feb 26, BEML and Kamaz Vectra signed an MoA agreeing to cooperate in the manufacture of commercial vehicles for civil and defence applications. The statement by the Army above officially states that a retired officer from its ranks, Lt Gen Tejinder Singh (former DG Defence Intelligence Agency) "offered bribe" for Tatra and Vectra, presumably to push contracts. Now unless I'm very much out on a limb here, the Army has indicated the presence of an arms agent pushing contracts for Tatra and Vectra in the country. Whether those bribes were accepted is irrelevant at least at this stage. The act of offering a bribe -- the very act of being an agent in India -- for a defence contract is illegal, and has always attracted harsh punitive action. The statement above isn't a scurrilous, anonymous letter -- it is an official statement from the Army HQ. I can't wait to see what Tatra and Vectra think of this. Hoo boy.


Anonymous said...

Its sickening to see how all this is playing out in the Media, the Army has become a laughing stock in the eyes of the public. Really wish it all gets cleaned up sooner than later. I wont be surprised if the MOD is behind this to squish the office of chiefs even further. High time Govt appoints a CDS and shields our armed forces from all this gross manipulation

KSingh said...

First ever video of IN MARCOs training (atleast that I've seen):


Anonymous said...

Hey the BEML assembled Tatra truck in front is Pinaka Launcher built by L&T.

The one in the background is a Smerch Launcher but I'm not aware of Tatra supplying trucks for Smerch.

Jay Bhattacharjee said...

Why is young Aroor getting all hyped up about the Army's
statement ? And resorting to inane Americanisms.

Surely, this is a very serious matter that the Army has brought out. It points to dangerous machinations by some individuals who are trying to destabilise the Army. They are conspiring against the present COAS in order to implicate him in fabricated offences.

Anonymous said...

TATRAs are used for SMERCHs as well as for Brahmos TELs.Nothing against TATRA as such as they are rugged and dependable trucks.The real scam is why BEML,after all these years has still not gone on to develop an indigenous capability of these grades of trucks. I wonder how much has indigenous content the TATRA has.Indian manufactures like TATA have also developed their 8X8 vehicles.Why has BEML not gone beyond a mere assembly agent of TATRA?

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ANITA MAL said...

Was'nt a former MGO
the MD of TATRA?????

Anonymous said...

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Abhiman said...

It is a very well known fact that ex-Army and ex-IAF officers moonlight as agents for Israeli and Russian arms. After retirement, they become full-time agents of Russian and Israeli arms companies.

So, this news is no surprise.

The lessons from all this are :

1) We must stop treating our soldiers as demi-Gods. True, they are ready to lay lives but they can be as corrupt as the local neta or the local passport officers.

2) That the armed forces do Not accept indigenous weaponry from DRDO may have this angle of corruption as well. Like a certain Army DGMF, who tried his best to stall Arjun's induction in the Army in favour of the T-90. Later, he got a nice slap on his face when the Arjun trumped the T-90s in trials.

3) The Arjun's slow induction and favouring of T-90s, as well as resistance to induct fine Tejas Mk.1s, all the while flying those tottering MiGs smacks of a corrupt malaise within the armed forces.

A Mallu said...

More on this

Anonymous said...

Shiv is it possible to get the pics of indo-american exercise taking place in rajasthan.

An India said...

Hope MOD does not start banning Tatra and Kamaz...so that MOD IAS babubs can start dreaming about new purchase ques .i.e. benefits like kin's seat in foreign/US universities or fund transfers to foreign Banks...which Government wouldn't disclose to media or public any way...so safe game for MOD babus.
If any Ex ARMY/AF/Navy chief is working as Dealer/Agent for foreign company..what's wrong with that unless we buy a substandard/poor quality product ?????
If during any deal it is found that the vendor's agent has paid kickback..ARMY?IAF/NAVY should do a another round of technical/qulity.. study/testing/trial/audit of the said vendor's product's to assure the Armed Forces that the Deal/Procurement does not compromise on any technical parameter/quality.

Cancelling the contracts/banning the companies have resulted in Army not being able to buy a Single Piece of Heavy Artillery gun in last 30 Years after Boforce scandal(Army got only 400 155 mm SP guns instead of 1600 planned)..and now after Dennel,IMI and STK banned...who are left?...the same old Boforce (Now part of BAE)and The BAE itself..and Govt of USA (for Govt. to Govt. deal)..I guess..

Also surprising that our open free and sovereign media and honest journalist's do not find/smell any kind of scandals in deals with US. Don no why ?
India bought Fire Finding Radars,A second Hand Warship, P-8I LRMR ,C-130 J , C-17 , worth of 15-20 Billion USD...no scandals broke !!!
And MOD babus,CBI,AGI all were happy so no issues crop up.

Mr. Ra said...

Blame it all on Annaji and Ramdev.

Anonymous said...

From the above comments it can be concluded that the countries which are providing military hardware to India are all corrupt. Soon our Govt. will blacklist all foreign companies who are willing to provide us arms and we will be left with no other option(since net indigenous output is zero). The time will be ripe for China and Pak to invade India.

Anonymous said...

I hope Sunnithan writes a cover story on "Self before Corrupt"

DS Kumar said...

This issue has made headlines today. is this the same issue which the Army Chief was referring. Congrats Shiv on a Scoop which was made public over 2 Weeks back