Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Defence Scam Floodgates Set FREE with Army Chief General VK Singh's explosive claim that he was offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore to clear the purchase of sub-standard vehicles for the forces!t would rather help to make up the sacams like Two G Spectrum

Defence Scam Floodgates Set FREE with  Army Chief General VK Singh's explosive claim that he was offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore to clear the purchase of sub-standard vehicles for the forces!t would rather help to make up the sacams like Two G Spectrum and coal Bloks`s auction!

Allow 100 pc FDI in defence: ASSOCHAM,Defence ministry should stop adhocism in planning: Par panel

India, US discuss ways to step up economic ties

Indian Holocaust My Father`s Life and Time - Eight HUNDRED Twenty

Palash Biswas

Defence Scam Floodgates Set FREE with  Army Chief General VK Singh's explosive claim that he was offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore to clear the purchase of sub-standard vehicles for the forces!While General Singh said that he informed Defence Minister AK Antony about the incident, he added that he did not take any further action as the bribe offer was an indirect one.The startling allegation coming just a few weeks after the age row case which went against General Singh saw uproarious scenes in Parliament with MPs cutting across party lines expressing their shock and anger over the charge. Opposition MPs demanded that the government take strong action in the case.Political parties across the spectrum on Monday said army chief General VK Singh should have filed a complaint about his allegation that he was offered a bribe by a lobbyist to purchase substandard vehicles.  The Congress party, too, attacked Singh, asking why he kept quiet for so long.

Mind you, defence deal always has been the best avenue to mobilise resources for Political parties!The strategic realliance led by US and Israel and Indo  Us Nuclear deal has made India ru n blind on the highway of Militarisation. defence Budget is hiked SEVENTEEN Percent on the face of Grim Fiscal deficit and lowering Growth Rate despite statiscal juglerry!The shadow of Chinese Dragon Hyped larger tha life only to justify defence deals. Even weapn companies bank too much for internal Security like maoist Meance!The Explosive Interview of the army Chief showcases only the tip of the Ice berg as no doubt India has become the Free Hunting Ground for the Global Weapon Marketing Invoking Shaffron Nationalism and making an excuse of national security Risk and the America`s war against Terror.

Both houses of Parliament were adjourned till 2 pm after uproar by the opposition over Army chief VK Singh's allegations that he was offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore.Meanwhile, defence minister AK Antony has ordered a CBI probe on Army chief's allegations.It would rather help to make up the sacams like Two G Spectrum and coal Bloks`s auction!

Earlier, both houses of Parliament were adjourned till noon after the opposition MPs created a ruckus over the disclosures made by the Army chief.The opposition today cornered the government in Parliament over Army Chief General VK Singh's claim that he was offered bribe.

In an interview to a national daily 'The Hindu', army chief General VK Singh, who recently lost his date of birth battle, has claimed that he was offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore by an equipment lobbyist for clearing the purchase of 600 substandard vehicles.

Meanwhile, In the wake of the controversy over Army chief Gen V K Singh's allegation about his being offered bribe, BJP has decided to speak on the Defence Ministry in the demand-for-grants discussion of the budget in the Lok Sabha with the aim of highlighting several issues pertaining to the armed forces. Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj today said BJP will choose the Defence Ministry as its subject of discussion during the demand-for-grants debate. In the budget discussions, each party is allowed to choose a ministry. The controversy created by Gen Singh, who said in an interview that he had been offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore for an equipment deal, is latest in a string of issues relating to the Defence Ministry. The reported differences between the Ministry of Defence and the armed forces, the conduct of both the ministry and the army in the case of Gen Singh's date of birth, the one-rank-one-pension issue for retired defence personnel, delay in buying fighter planes and other equipment are among a host of issues BJP is likely to raise during the debate. BJP has also demanded that PAC and CAG be apprised of the expenditure incurred by the defence forces from the annual budget allocated to them. The Defence Ministry has maintained this information is not for public consumption while CAG and PAC, which examines and acts on all CAG reports, have sought details from the government on the expenditure under various heads and departments. Incursions by Chinese armed forces into Arunachal Pradesh and other border areas of India will also be brought up by BJP for discussion. The activities of Pakistan army on the Kashmir border as well as the Sri Lankan navy which often holds Indian fishermen captive will also be raised, along with other issues.

On the other hand, Expressing unhappiness over "adhocism" in its planning process, a Parliamentary panel has asked the Defence Ministry to finalize a Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan (LTIPP) without any further delay. The Standing Committee on Defence has in its report tabled in Parliament today has asked the Ministry to take all the initiative to ensure that the projections for 12th Plan are finalized well in advance. "The Committee has consistently been raising serious concern over non-finalisation of LTIPP 2012-27 and the 11th Plan," the Committee report said. "While expressing unhappiness over adhocism in whole planning process in Defence Ministry, the Committee strongly recommends that LTIPP should be finalized without any further delay," it said. "Besides all the initiative should be taken to ensure that the projections for the 12th Plan are finalized well in advance so that the 12th Plan do not meet the fate of the 10th and 11th plan," the report said. So far as LTIPP is concerned, the Ministry has informed that it is in the process of ratification at Chief of Staff Committee level and is likely to be approved before the commencement of the 12th plan, the report said. On 11th plan, the Committee noted, "The plan size could not be finalized due to differences of opinion between the Defence and Finance Ministries, even when four years of the plan period have already passed and projections for last year of plan that is 2011-12 have already been finalized." It said, "What is more disturbing to the Committee is the fact that this is not the first time when the Five Year Plan could not be finalized. 10th Plan too met with the same fate and it has become a continuous practice with the Defence Ministry."

The Defence Ministry has issued an advisory to the three services to avoid contact with the weapon manufacturing firms blacklisted recently by the government, two of which would be displaying their products in the Defexpo-12, beginning later this week. The ministry has also constituted a team of officials which will be on vigil to ensure that no foul play- from the officials and the participants- takes place during the four- day-long defence exhibition which is starting on March 29. "We have issued an advisory through the Defence Ministry and all its wings, and also the services, that they should advise all their officers to avoid contact with these companies," Secretary Defence Production, Shekhar Aggarwal told reporters here today. He was asked whether the six companies including four foreign firms, which were blacklisted by the Defence Ministry recently, were participating in the Defexpo. Agarwal said that two of the blacklisted firms- Rheinmetall Zurich and Israel Military Industry (IMI)- were participating in the exhibition. "The process of registration with the FICCI had started before the blacklisting (of these companies). Two companies had decided to participate and had booked space. But we thought it may not be advisable and may create legal complications if we ask them to withdraw," he said. On steps to ensure that no foul play took place during the exhibition as an Air Force officer was allegedly found indulging in a case of illegal gratification during last year's Aero India show, he said, "We have constituted a team headed by joint secretary and officers of DGQA. "They would be on vigil throughout the event to check any malpractice," Aggarwal said.

DON'T MISS: Army chief's shocking interview!

With Antony now ordering a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigation into Gen. Singh's allegation, here is a low-down on some of the scams that rocked the defence ministry since 2007 and the outcome of the investigations.

Adarsh Housing Society scam:

The case involves top armed forces officers and defence estate officers issuing a no-objection certificate to Adarsh Housing Society, comprising retired and serving personnel, to build a 31-storey housing complex with 104 flats. The building came up on a 6,450 square metre plot of land inside a high security naval campus in upscale Colaba area of Mumbai.

Originally proposed as a housing scheme for widows of Kargil martyrs, it later came to light that politicians, bureaucrats and senior defence officers including three former army and navy chiefs had got flats allotted to them by misusing their official positions.

It also came to light that several norms relating defence land had been violated including issuing of no-objection certificates to enable the construction of the housing society.

The scam hit headlines in 2009 and later, the probe was handed over to the CBI, which has last week arrested several former armed forces officers including a retired major general and a brigadier .

Among those named as part of the beneficiaries of the housing society were former army chiefs Gen. Deepak Kapoor and Gen. N.C. Vij, and former navy chief Admiral Madhavendra Singh. The three officers, after their names became public as Adarsh beneficiaries, returned the flats.

Sukna land scam:

Two senior lieutenant generals and a major general were named in converting a 70-acre land adjacent to Sukna military station in Siliguri of West Bengal into an educational institution by handing it over to a private trust.

The controversy involved issuing of no-objection certificate for the private trust to buy the land for construction of the educational institution on the condition that wards of army personnel from Sukna military station too would get to study there.

Then army chief Gen. Deepak Kapoor's military secretary Lt. Gen. Avadesh Prakash and then 33 Corps commander Lt. Gen. P.K. Rath were court martialled in the case and punished for their involvement in the alienation of the 70-acre land that was originally a tea estate.

The court martial had dismissed Lt. Gen. Avadesh Prakash from service after finding him guilty in the case.

Ration Supplies Scam:

The case of a scam in ration supplies to army personnel in high altitude areas broke out in 2007 and then Army Service Corps chief Lt. Gen. S.K. Sahni was found guilty in the case in 2011 and dismissed from service.

Sahni had retired from service when he was court martialled and cashiered from service.

Frozen Meat Scam:

Another Army Service Corps top officer, Lt. Gen. S.K. Dahiya, was also indicted in a separate case involving irregularities in the procurement of frozen meat for troops posted in Ladakh and discrepancies in procurement of dry rations in early 2007.

Dahiya is now retired from service, though he was awarded a recordable censure by the Northern Army commander for the offences.

Ordnance Factory Board scam:

The defence ministry, earlier this month, debarred six defence firms -- four of them foreign -- from any future deals with Indian ordnance factories for the next 10 years, after they were named in a graft case involving former Ordnance Factory Board director general Sudipto Ghosh.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which investigated the case, had filed a charge sheet against Ghosh in June 2010 in Kolkata and recommended the blacklisting of the firms -- Singapore Technologies Kinetics (STK), Israeli Military Industries (IMI), Switzerland's Rheinmetall Air Defence, Corporation Defence Russia, New Delhi-based T.S. Kishan and Company Private Limited and Ludhiana-based R.K. Machine Tools Limited.

On the other hand,With India edging past China as the world's largest arms importer, an industry body has sought increase in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the defence sector to 100 percent from the existing 26 percent to attract advance military technology to India and for curbing large-scale imports.

India currently imports 70 percent of its military equipment and system needs from abroad, with Russia, Israel and the US emerging as the three largest weapons and platforms suppliers to New Delhi in the last decade.

Coming just after the government presented a defence budget for 2012-13 worth Rs.193,407 crore ($38.6 billion) earlier this month, the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) called for allowing 100 percent FDI in the defence sector "to develop a domestic industrial base, encourage technology transfers and curb large-scale imports."

"We must be realistic and recognise that defence production is a capital- and technology-intensive sector. To develop a strong industrial base in the country, we need both foreign capital and technology," it said.

Assocham secretary general D.S. Rawat said the 26 percent cap on FDI "has kept away both."

"We must reconsider the cap. There is no reason why we should have one at all and not allow 100 percent FDI," Rawat said.

"Nascent industry protection comes from high tariff barriers and investment incentives - not the other way, as India has. Manufacturing within the country through foreign capital with full transfer of modern technology is a far better option than importing the equipment from abroad," he said.

The defence sector is like no other - it has a single buyer that invariably buys through competitive bidding and very long product development and procurement cycles.

"Both viability and competitiveness will be achieved if exports are allowed and encouraged," Rawat said.

India has an excellent law on special economic zones which should be leveraged to make it an important hub in the global supply chain on aerospace and defence production, he said.

Assocham also called for the government to also reconcile contradictions and align all relevant policies. "Clarity is needed on what a defence product is and this definition should cover the final product (not components) and have a direct link with lethality or high-end technology," the industry body said.

Moreover, if a product or service is allowed foreign investment under FDI policy, it should not be disallowed or have a different cap imposed on it under the offset policy.

"We need to introduce greater transparency in - as well as simplify - the offset approval process. The offset approval process should be centralised in one permanent committee of the Defence Offset Facilitation Agency," it added.

"It wasn't like he was giving cash in your hand. He was saying that if this file is passed you'll get this much money. Everybody takes...what's your problem?" said General Singh.

Antony quickly announced that the Army Chief's allegations would be probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
There was ruckus in Parliament on Monday over Army Chief General VK Singh's claim that he was offered bribe to clear the purchase of vehicles for the forces. BJP, AIADMK and JD(U) members displayed newspapers and walked to the well of the House in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha saying General Singh's claims were 'serious'. Following the ruckus, both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha had to be adjourned twice.

The BJP said it wanted to know what action that the government plans to take on General Singh's claim.

Critisising Antony, senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh said, "I ask the Defence Minister to wake up. The Chief of the Army Staff has heavy and high responsibility on his head. The response he met from the Defence Minister was so unsatisfactory that he had to go to the press."
The Congress rose to Antony's defence casting doubts on the Army Chief appointed by its own government.

"If someone had approached General VK Singh, he should have got an FIR filed against the person," said Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari.

However, Antony evaded the question on the matter and fumbled outside Parliament.

Terming Gen Singh's allegations as "serious", Antony said, "We have to handle it...I have
taken action."

When asked if the Army chief had informed him about the bribe offer, he said, "Parliament is in session."

Former Army chiefs have expressed their shock over Army Chief General VK Singh's allegation that he was offered a bribe to clear the purchase of sub-standard vehicles for the forces.

General (Retd) Shankar Roy Choudhary defended Army Chief General VK Singh saying he did the right thing by informing the Defence Ministry that he was offered bribe. "One cannot go to the police and file an FIR based on a conversation. He did the right thing by going to the Defence Ministry and informing them," General Choudhary said.

Another retired Army Chief General VP Malik also expressed shock calling the incident 'strange' and 'serious'. He said, "There have been incidents earlier, like the Tehelka case. This is the first time that I have heard the Army Chief was approached in this manner. To me it's very strange. It's a serious matter," General Malik said.

General Malik, however, said an FIR should have been registered in the matter. "Why wasn't it reported and the company banned? An FIR should have been lodged. It's a very serious charge," he said.

Meanwhile, the CBI probe, ordered by Antony, is expected to go into the role of a former head of the defence intelligence agency Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh, accused earlier by the Army of offering a bribe.

However, the man who allegedly offered General VK Singh a bribe of Rs 14 crore has denied the charges, saying the Army Chief has not named anyone in his interview.

"In his interview, the Army chief has not named me, so I should not be talking about it. Allegations against me are baseless. I don't want to get into any controversy by speaking out anything on the issue. I don't want to tarnish the image of the Army," said Tejinder Singh.

Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh Singh has threatened legal action against the Army Chief. While Antony appears to have confirmed the view that the only decision he takes is to order inquiries. As for the Army Chief, the buzz is that after having lost face on the date of birth issue he's trying to get some of the gloss back.

Retired Lt Gen Tejinder Singh, whose name has cropped up in media speculation as the one involved in Army chief's allegations about a 14 crore bribe offer, on Monday denied the charge.

Tejinder Singh said Gen Singh had not even taken his name and it was only media speculation that he was involved in the latest controversy and that he was not working for any private or defence company.

"Having retired two years ago... In the wake of these allegations, some allegations have been made against me, which I must humbly say that I totally deny," he said.

Tejinder Singh said he did not get into a discourse on the matter which would only bring further disrepute to the Army.

The former Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) chief said he had met Gen Singh a year and a half back in 2010.

Asked if there was any discussion between him and the Army chief about any defence deal, Tejinder Singh said, "To my understanding, Army chief has nothing to do with defence contracts. They are all high value deals which are handled by the Defence Ministry."

He said he was considering taking legal action against "people concerned".

"It is really unfortunate. Being a government official and head of the Indian Army, he should have registered an FIR if someone came to him and offered a bribe," said Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari.

Army chief Gen VK Singh, who has claimed that he was offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore for clearing a 'sub-standard' procurement order, has said he could not understand the import of the statement and that is why he did not act against the person who made it.

"If a person who has just retired a few days ago tells you that you will get this if you do that thing and when you have never heard something like this, you would be shocked.

Earlier in the day, Union defence minister AK Antony ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into army chief's allegations that he had been offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore.

"It is a serious allegation, I have already taken action," Antony told reporters outside Parliament. But he refused to say what action had been taken and pointed out that Parliament session was on.

Reacting to the allegation leveled by Gen Singh, BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi said, "Both the defence minister and the army chief should have acted immediately.

"It is a criminal act and nobody should be allowed to go scot free after offering a bribe," he told reporters outside Parliament.

Parliament adjourned till noon after ruckus by the BJP leaders over rmy chief general VK Singh's reported statement that he was offered Rs 14 crore bribe.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gave notice for suspension of Question Hour in Parliament, wanting to discuss army chief General VK Singh's claims of being offered a Rs 14 crore bribe.

The government is neckdeep in corruption, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said, calling army chief Gen VK Singh's allegation that he had been offered a bribe to clear a tranche of 600 substandard vehicles "very serious".

In an interview to a newspaper, the army chief alleged that an equipment lobbyist offered him a bribe of Rs 14 crore, which he had reported to the defence minister.

He said the lobbyist offered him the bribe in order to have a tranche of 600 sub-standard vehicles of a particular make cleared for purchase.

The army chief also added that the defence minister AK Antony was apprised of the matter.

In the interview Singh said, "One of these men had the gumption to walk up to me and tell me that if I cleared the tranche, he would give me Rs 14 crore. He was offering a bribe to me, to the army chief. He told me that people had taken money before me and they will take money after me."

"Things are fast unravelling and you will soon see the hand behind the drama. You will soon see who the sutradhar of the play is," he also added.

Commerce, Industry and Textile Minister of India, Anand Sharma, and United States Commerce Secretary John Bryson today met in New Delhi and reaffirmed their governments' commitment to strengthen the economic relation between the two nations.

In a statement, they said, "Their governments' commitment to further strengthen the India-U.S. economic partnership as an important element of the vision of the strategic partnership between the two countries outlined by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama."

"We are engaged in a very important economic partnership. We have collaborations in high end technology, innovation. There are strong investments that Indian entities have made in the US," Anand Sharma told media after after the meeting.

He said, "The US  is also a major investor in India. We look at the priority sectors of engagement particularly focusing on manufacturing and on infrastructure and innovation. And also on the US participation in NMIZs. I have also communicated to the US Commerce Secretary the agreement reached extending the commercial dialogue."

Indian minister also raised the issues concerning movement of Indian professionals, including the 'high' rate of rejection of temporary work visas.

Sharma said, "All issues of concern from both the side were raised particularly, from our side the movement of professionals. HI and L1 visas to ensure that the professionals whether they are going from here or they are transferred from the foreign location by their companies to the new locations."

"There have been concerns over the high rate of rejection. Last year visas declined by 28 percent. We had a very frank discussion including some of the issues on which US have concerns," he added.

Minister Sharma and Secretary Bryson expressed satisfaction with signs of recovery of economic growth momentum in India and the United States. They emphasized the importance of sustained global economic recovery, a stable Euro Zone, stability in the international commodity and energy markets, and open international trade environment, for accelerating economic growth and enhancing prosperity in their countries.

The two leaders noted with satisfaction that bilateral trade in goods and services now exceeds USD 100 billion, making the U.S. the largest trading partner for India, and India one of the fastest growing markets for the United States. T

They welcomed the double-digit growth in trade ties between the two countries during the past two years, the rising flow of investments in both directions and growing role of innovation in the India-U.S. partnership.

They noted that growing ties in areas like infrastructure, aviation, defence, energy, higher education, financial services and information technology are making bilateral economic ties increasingly broad-based. They welcomed the launch of a USD 2.0 billion Infrastructure Debt Fund in India in March 2012, with the participation of Indian and U.S. financial institutions.

Both the leaders agreed to continue their dialogue later in the year in Washington DC.