The tender to procure a large quantity of ammunition for ZU-23 anti-aircraft guns for an estimated US$ 100 million was floated by Army HQ last year as an “emergency purchase” to meet operational requirements. The ammunition was required to be delivered within a year.
While three firms took part in the tender process, a Bulgarian firm, Kintex, emerged as the lowest bidder after the Army HQ cleared it on technical grounds. However, before the contract could be signed, an MoD team which visited Bulgaria found that the firm was not an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) but merely an export agent for another Bulgarian firm that manufactures the ammunition.
This raised several questions on the fairness of the selection process as well as the checks and verifications conducted by Army HQ, which are now being probed by the MoD. The issue has gained significance as the deal was being processed under the “emergency purchase” route in which there are more chances of transparency being compromised.
When contacted, MoD officials confirmed that the tender had been initiated at the request of Army HQ, and that it is looking at several issues that have been raised on the selection process. The purchase has been put on hold for now.
The matter has been further complicated with Moscow sending a letter to the MoD, complaining that Kintex is not an authorised manufacturer or dealer for the Russian origin 23 mm ammunition.
The Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) has written a letter to Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma explaining that Bulgaria has to obtain permission from Russia before exporting 23 mm ammunition to third nations. Bulgaria’s request for components for the 23 mm ammunition for India was turned down by Russia in April 2011, says the letter sent by the FSMTC director.
Source said the MoD will take a final decision after considering all the facts of the case.
The ghost of leaking Gen VKS's letter to PM may be behind this. It would have been more appropriate if picture of def secretary pasted instead gen VKS. The MOD and its procedure should be under scanner.
Do not see any future of this nation; called Bharat-Hindustan-India; wherein 99.99 % Ninety nine point Ninety nine per cent person are corrupt, because of the corrupt system of governance indeed---dr.amritgaur at:email@example.com
I wish the MOD was as commited to do it's job as when we purchased bofors guns,Bullet proof vests, refurbished aircraft carrier and second rate night vision scopes at premium price. As the report says, the army under V.K Singh approved the technical specs, and selected the lowest bid.It does not have the investgative infrastructure to dig in to the antecedents of the bidders. That goes to MOD and the Babus. Therefore the bidder was the original manufacturerer or not was not the General concern.It was the job of MOD. why are they casting aspersions on an officer and gentleman like General Singh.Perhaps it is a way of getting even with him for standing up for what he thought was right and putting some noses out of joints.
Yes, Army Hq had projected a demand for a certain type of ammunition and it had cleared the dealer who offered the most competitive price but that about all there is to it about Army Hq role. The rest is of the MoD. I must say IE is behaving as if it has a pathological hatred for one of the best soldiers India has had- Gen V K Singh- and wants to paint him black, black and more black. Just for the record I had stopped my subscription to IE after seeing that its precipitous fall from the days of Arun Shourie.
Best way to avoid outflow of our hard earned money to dubious foreign firms is to go whole hog for indigenization or reverse engineering where required of various arms and ammo by joint developed teams of DRDO, Ordnance factories, DPSU's, inspection and even private sector companies.Given our resources, expertise and manufacturing capability such ammo can be re-engineered well with in a year if not earlier. May be MoD can involve retired experts/technologists from concerned disciplines to give fillip to reverse engineering to move forward fast? Possibly MoD can think of constituting Re-engineering Deptt under DRDO.