Full Transcript: Your Call with former Defence Minister Jaswant Singh
NDTV.com, Updated: April 01, 2012 21:19 IST
NDTV: I think one of the other worrying aspects was about the question of corruption in Defence procurements and this information about Tatra trucks now, which has come up. Now the question that has been raised that these have been in use since 1986, the irregularities in procurement have clearly been in place since pretty much then. Why has no former Defence Minister, Government , Army Chief raise this earlier?
Jaswant Singh: I am guilty. In between I have been Defence Minister. I must admit this never came to my mind. And so in that sense even if I make a comment here I am just as guilty as any of the previous Defence Ministers would be. I cannot cite ignorance as my defence, I did not know of it; I did not take any action. It is no good saying that I was not there long enough. Yes you are right I am partly to blame. But what has happened is at another level of; why this became, why has this become not just Tatra. You see in 1986, around '86-'87, I believe was a kind of climactic year, because that is when the infamous Bofors hit India. I had gone with General Sundarji to the trial of Bofors. I had said to him this is a very good gun; it's very badly procured. Because I said it's a very good gun my party got annoyed with me. But I also tried very hard to find out. I also went to Sweden at my own cost and I fought for this issue until I came against the wall of non-cooperation. Then I realized that Bofors will have very long-term consequences in Defence procurement. Because if we were not able to identify and award punishment to the wrong doers, then of course people can say that we can do it. And then of course it was only about 86 or 84 crores, now it's hundreds of crores.
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Comment: It is obvious the Munition Wheeler Dealers and the Bureaucracy can subvert the whole defence procurement system- It is seemingly impossible for Mr Antony to effect anything tangible to eliminate corruption in the MOD! The wheeler Dealers have powered themselves with effecting changes in the Ministry and also getting Army Officers posted to the crucial appointments to make big bucks in league with Political Criminals!
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