New Delhi: The Navy`s deal for procurement of
torpedoes for Scorpene submarines from an Italian company has come in for questioning with a Member of Parliament writing to
the Central Vigilance Commission seeking a probe into alleged
corruption in the selection.
Jainarayan Prasad Nishad, who had earlier written to
Defence Minister AK Antony, has alleged that WASS heavy water
torpedo was selected for procurement "without validation of
critical parameters at sea for speed and range" as specified
in the Request for Proposal (RFP).
The RFP clearly stated that only those vendors who could
successfully perform dynamic trials of the offered torpedo
would be considered but "this was totally ignored in the case
of WASS, Italy and the deal was pushed in favour of WASS,
thereby ignoring the technical conditions laid in the RFP,
Nishad has said.
Citing "(defence) ministry sources" and articles
published in some defence magazines, the JDU MP from Bihar has
claimed that in the case of the deal, the Defence Procurement
Procedure (DPP) was "manipulated and violated for pecuniary
In his letter to Antony, Nishad has contended that the
then DG Acquisition had recommended re-issuance of the RFP as
the Defence Procurement Procedure was "not being followed and
the RFP was ab-initio defective" but later, the Navy used the
"excuse" of urgency to reverse the decision and sent it to the
Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) for approval to consider
WASS "as a resultant single vendor".
Alleging wrongdoings in the process that dates back to
2007 and 2008, the MP claimed that to ensure the RFP was not
cancelled, the Navy had "deliberately cleared" another bidder
ATLAS Elektronik of Germany at the TEC (Technical Evaluation
Committee) stage and rejected it after trials.
"Creating a single vendor scenario through manipulation
to overcome the DPP, which has happened in this case, and
selecting an inferior product, could lead to the security of
the nation being compromised for pecuniary financial gains,"
he warned in the letter to Antony.
On getting no response from Antony, the MP shot off a
letter to CVC Pradeep Kumar along with the one written to the
Defence Minister in January this year. "This has vigilance
angle," he wrote, requesting probe into the matter "seriously"
and take necessary steps to stop any possibility of corruption
in the deal.
Earlier, ATLAS Elektronik had also cried foul play and
sent letters of complaint to the Defence Ministry.
Meanwhile, reacting to the allegations levelled by
Nishad, Navy spokesperson Commander PVS Satish said, "For
the moment all I can say is that all acquisitions undertaken
by the Indian Navy are done with due care and adherence to
laid down procedures".
"Trials were conducted as per the procedures approved by
the DAC and were acceptable to both the vendors (in the
contract)," he added.
The Navy has plans of procuring around 100 torpedoes for
the fleet of its six Scorpene submarines, which are being
constructed by the Mazagon Dockyarads Limited (MDL) in
partnership with French DCNS.