Kochi: The Centre has informed the Kerala High Court that BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Ltd (BATL) is a public limited company and wholly owned subsidiary of BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited, an Indo-Russin JV.
The submission in this regard was made by the government yesterday.
A JV between Indian and Russian governments cannot be a government company fully controlled in India by the Ministry of Defence, it was stated in an affidavit by Assistant Solicitor General of India P Rarameswaran Nair.
This is a first-of-its-kind cooperation anywhere in the world between two countries to develop ballistic missiles and the project is a reflection of the warm and cordial defence ties between India and Russia, it was stated.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation of India and the Federal State Unitary Enterprise NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM) of Russia together formed BrahMos Aerospace.
The submission was made following a direction to the Centre last week to clarify whether BATL is a private or government company on a petition by INTUC affiliated Brahmos Staff Association and CITU affiliated Brahmos Employees Union challenging a state government notification exempting the company from the provisions of Kerala Recognition of Trade Union Act, 2010, came up before the Court.
According to the state government, it was against allowing trade union activities at BATL as it could affect the defence preparedness of the nation and the smooth functioning of the organisation which was involved in the production of components required for missile projects.
BATL was involved in the manufacture of metallic components, launcher containers and air borne launchers for BrahMos missiles. Some more major orders and missile engine project would also be assigned, the government said, adding, their order book had been strengthened with an order for BrahMos missile related jobs worth Rs 150 crore. ISRO, DRDO and Ministry of Defence were among the valued customers.
Kerala Hi-Tech Industries Ltd had been taken over and rechristened BATL, five years ago. The existing trade unions had agreed to cease trade unions functioning in the company during the takeover, the official pointed out.
According to the petitioners, BATL was a private company and exempting it from trade union activities was illegal. They submitted that Union government had only 50.5 percent of equity shares in the company while the Russian government holds the rest of the shares.