Defence minister A.K. Antony today froze all business with a major
Israeli military firm and six other companies alleged to have bribed
the former Ordnance Factories’ chief, Sudipta Ghosh, who was
arrested in Calcutta last month.
Among the six other companies are Singapore Technologies, which is
competing for a huge Indian Army artillery modernisation programme
worth a billion dollars, and could now be out of the race leaving
the field open to the only other vendor, Bae Land Systems, which is
the owner of the former Bofors company.
The five other companies are: BVT of Poland, Media Architects Pte
Ltd of Singapore, T.S. Kishan and Company Pvt Ltd, R.K. Machine
Tools, and HYT Engineering — the last three being Indian firms.
“The minister has decided to take a tough stand against corruption
and send out a signal. All acquisition cases in the pipeline of
these seven companies that figure in the CBI first information
report against the former director-general of the Ordnance Factory
Board have been put on hold forthwith,” said the defence ministry
spokesperson, Sitanshu Kar.
The action against the companies has been taken despite the CBI not
yet having filed a chargesheet because the ministry was convinced by
the evidence that there were transfers of large sums in the personal
account of Ghosh.
defence ministry source said information had been received that
Ghosh held an account in Singapore to which funds were transferred
from these companies.
Israel Military Industries (IMI) was contracted in March this year —
a month before Ghosh retired in April — to partner the Ordnance
Factory in Nalanda for a Rs 1,200-crore project to make bimodular
propellant charges — ammunition for the Indian Army’s Bofors guns.
is also in a joint venture with the ordnance factory in Khamaria in
Madhya Pradesh to make “cargo ammunition”, cluster bombs designed to
maim. IMI is also contracted by the ordnance board to export the
Singapore Technologies, and a subsidiary, ST Kinetics, apart from
participating in the competition for ultra-light Howitzers with its
Pegasus gun, is also involved with ordnance factories in producing
The defence ministry has sought details from the ordnance board on
all projects in which the seven companies are involved to assess the
impact the blacklisting could have.
the past, Denel of South Africa was blacklisted after allegations
that it paid bribes to win a contract from Indian forces to supply
anti-materiel guns. Bofors and HDW of Germany were also blacklisted.
Blacklisting can often prove to be counter-productive for the armed
forces as it can slow down their modernisation.