Saturday, April 14, 2012

President and her extended family eyes for grabbing A1 defence land

President had eyes set on classified A1 defence land
Saturday, 14 April 2012 00:22 TN Raghunatha | Mumbai

If new revelations are anything to go by, there is more than what meets the eye behind the allotment of two bungalows for the construction of President Pratibha Patil’s post-retirement home at Khadki in Pune.
First, informed sources in the Defence Estate Office of the Pune-based Southern Command, have revealed that the two plots where bungalows
number 38 and 26-A were located, are on plots of land which have been classified as “A1 defence land” which should be “in active occupation of the forces and allied services” and the where civilians should not be allowed to undertake construction.
In essence, it is surprising why Army Commander of the Southern Command Lt Gen AK Singh, under whose jurisdiction the Military Engineering Services (MES) undertook the construction of the President’s new bungalow on two plots of land, did not raise any objection to locating the civilian residential structure on plots of land classified as “A1 defence land”.
Click here fo the complete story: President had eyes set on classified A1 defence land

Friday, April 13, 2012

Money laundering case filed against Tatra

Money laundering case filed against Tatra
NDTV Correspondent | Updated: April 13, 2012 19:49 IST

NDTV Correspondent | Updated: April 13, 2012 19:49 IST
New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a money laundering case against Tatra. The ED is investigating if Tatra sold its trucks to the Army at 'overpriced' prices. The Army has bought 7000 Tatra trucks since 1986.
Army Chief General VK Singh had disclosed last month that he was offered a bribe to clear "sub-standard" trucks, which brought the Tatra deals with the Army under scanner.
Tatra is a Czech-manufacturer. It is owned by Vectra, a London-based company, which supplies parts to a defence-run public sector unit, BEML, based in Bangalore. The trucks are assembled at BEML and sold to the Army.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is also pursuing two different cases on the Tatra deals. One relates to the purchase of the 7000 trucks. The other looks at a new consignment of more than 700 trucks that Vectra was allegedly trying to push through. In the former, the CBI has allegedly been granted permission by the Defence Ministry to prosecute VRS Natarajan, the chairman of BEML.
Mr Natarajan has denied that he has ever received complaints about either the acquisition or the performance of Tatra trucks. He said he could not understand why the Army Chief might think of them as as "sub-standard".
Money laundering case filed against Tatra
Comment: BEML Chief is a seasoned scamster with 10 years experience in driving the Tatra into murky waters. He needs to be adminstered the truth pill for him to sing, because the case is too complicated for the CBI to decipher when the Home Minister is dangling his sword of damocles over their heads.

President's retirement home or resort?

The President is the commander of the armed forces. The first woman President of India Pratibha Patil's extravagant plans have landed her into yet another controversy. An RTI application, that TIMES NOW has accessed has revealed how the President was alloted a massive chunk of land, many times more than what she is officially eligible for. This is presumed to be her retirement home. While the President's office, has denied having had any role in the massive size of the allotment. the revelation has sparked off a massive debate. The question - Is isn't the President setting a poor example by her show of extravagance?

Does the President need free military lands for post retirement luxury?

Dear Veterans,
1. Do you really feel it is justified to allot Residential land out from the Defence Land to the President of India at Khadki Cantonment Pune. Why Prime Defence land only, Ms Pratiba patil is president of India and has proved to be a Dummy Supreme Commander of the Armed forces. Thousands of Medals belonging to Defence Veterans are lying with the President, deposited in Protest for granting OROP, a well deserve benefit required by ESM.The president has till date not even looked at the deposited medals lying in president custody and wants to reap fruits of Post retirement from the Defence quota of land.
2. Is there a dearth of land or place for the President from Maharatra in Maharastra. The govt is quoting rules about the desire of President without taking into account the land grab cases against her husband and son caught with crore cash during elections and her picnic with family members have costed Rs 250 Crores from the Sate Exchequer on foreign trips.God save India from such Politicians who have no more regard to the Armed forces and their preparedness for war. The combat soldiers are suffering for allotment of accommodation due to scarcity of buildup accommodation, they are allotted in turn as per the unit seniority register, but we have to Salute the Netas for their own benefits always in forefront.
3. The ESM of Pune headed by Lt Col Suresh Patil "Justce for Jawan", has taken the right stand to challenge the non-deserving Head of the state to occupy and get allotted more then five acres of land allotted from Defence Land. Do you really think such huge area is required by the President after retirement, keeping in view the Past roles of previous presidents in active Politics or in National building except Ex-President ABJ Abdul Kalam, who is still active.
4. ESM must unite together and raise their voice against the allotment of residential land to a non-deserving President who has done nothing for the welfare of ESM and has been a mute spectator. Did not even receive the medals of brave sepoys of the Nation. ESM must get together at Pune and organize a rally to oppose the allotment to convey the message to the President about the feeling of neglect by the Supreme Commander.
5. We request Lt Gen Raj Kadyan, Maj Gen Satbir Singh of IESM to spearhead against the largesse bestowed on the President, others will follow.
.... Sanjha Morcha

Is the President telling the truth? Her travels abroad leave much to be desired!

President Denies Grabbing Pune Land For Post-Retirement House
[ Updated 12 Apr 2012, 22:57:26 ]

New Delhi, Apr 12: The President Ms Pratibha Patil has denied media reports that prime Pune cantonment land was "grabbed" to build a post-retirement house for her.

A press release issued by Rashtrapati Bhavan said, a section of the media has been reporting that the President l has "grabbed" land much in excess of her entitlement to build her post retirement home in Pune.

The press release said, these news items were facturally incorrect and malicious.

Giving details about the issue, the release said:

"To say that a house is being constructed for occupation by the President on demission of office by "snatching" or "grabbing" land meant for soldiers is factually incorrect and malicious. The land belongs to the Ministry of Defence and will continue to remain with the Ministry of Defence.

"The title of the land is not being alienated in any manner whatsoever. The ownership of both the land and the house she will be occupying will continue to remain vested in the government and therefore there is no substance in the allegation of personal gains.

"The President is entitled to accommodation after demission of office as provided for under the President's Emoluments and Pensions Act, 1951.

"It is therefore the legitimate entitlement of the President to occupy an accommodation provided by the government and all former Presidents have availed this benefit.

"The only variance in the present case is that the President will be occupying a government accommodation outside Delhi.

"The said rules provide that the size of the residence to be provided to the President on demission of office shall be comparable to a residence allotted to a Minister in the Union Council of Ministers.

"It is common knowledge that houses of Union Ministers in the Lutyens' Zone area, though belong to Type VIII category, are not of any uniform size. Quite logically, therefore, the President's Emoluments and Pensions Act does not specify a fixed living area for former President's when they occupy a government accommodation.

" The mention of living area not exceeding 2000 sq. ft. is only indicative and applicable where a suitable government residence is not available and a residence is to be taken on lease/rent basis, which does not apply in the present case, since the President will be occupying a government accommodation.

"The present residence occupied in Pune is a house which was earlier occupied by an officer at the level of a Lt. Colonel.

"The house being old, needed renovation to make it suitable for residential purposes and accordingly certain additions/modifications have been taken up to suit the requirements of the President on demission of office.

"The President is not coming in the way of residential accommodation being provided to Territorial Army cadets. That only that plot of land which is to be used for accommodating the President must only be used for providing residential accommodation for soldiers lacks rationale.

"Merely because the President has chosen to reside in the Cantonment area cannot be viewed as being apathetic or indifferent to the welfare of the soldiers. Surely, the city of Pune and surrounding areas have enough alternative land available for their accommodation. "

An organisation of ex-servicemen in Pune had alleged that over fives acres of land had been alloted for purpose of her residence after she demits office later in July this year when her five-year term ends.

Suresh Patil, a retired Lt Col of the Pune-based 'Justice for Jawan', part of NGO 'Green Thumb' group, who has accessed details about the Government's measures for providing her housing in Pune, claims that a large extent of land measuring over 2.60 lakh square feet has been alloted to her in Khadki cantonment in Pune.

He claims that a house with a plinth area of 4,500 square feet is being built for her by bringing down two British-era county bungalows.

The former Army official questioned why such a large extent of land was being fenced to protect this house for Pratibha Patil, who recently made news when an RTI application brought out the fact that over Rs 205 crore were spent on her foreign travels.

Col Patil said that he had sent several RTI applications to the Army's Southern Command seeking reasons for fencing the entire five acre land with a wall but failed to get any response.
President Denies Grabbing Pune Land For Post-Retirement House
Click here for the Truth Ministry's clarification
Comment: The President will continue to be thorn for the tax payers. Her lavish family life style does nothing to reduce poverty in India. She is edifice of the false face of India! MOD dancing to her tunes. She has done nothing as Supreme Commander for the Serving Soldiers or Veterans. She goes down in history as a lady who lives in Royal Style! RTI should expose her hollowness and double speak....

Thursday, April 12, 2012

2G Scam: Presidential Reference for clarity on scams?

Click Link: 2G case: Government files presidential reference in Supreme Court
Reported by Sunil Prabhu | Updated: April 12, 2012 16:59 IST
  • Chellappa Narayanan
    Govt is to be blamed for not following transparent policy by inviting open bids/ tenders in selling scarce national resources. Now the Govt is referring through President to Supreme Court seeking clarifications. Supreme Court has given a landmark judgement in 2G scam which has instilled more confidence to public about judiciary. Political class must realise that they are to serve the people and not themselves. Will the Govt now realise and take corrective action?
  • Amit Srivastava 2 hours ago
    Money talks , look at the high speed with which the government machinery is moving to bring relief to big players, faster then 4G :)
  • Shilpa Manocha 4 hours ago
    What govt is doing is correct but why does such a process take such less time to complete than any other bill or case. This gives rise to other questions as to whether the pressure is being built up by the politicians who had were involved in this scam or not.
  • BEML chief should stop playing and start praying

    BEML chief under CBI scanner
    Ritu Sharma Express News Service Last Updated : 03 Apr 2012 10:30:20 AM IST

    NEW DELHI: The head of a ‘navratna’ Defence PSU Bharat Earth Movers Ltd. (BEML) V R S Natarajan is under CBI scanner for alleged irregularities in supplying sub-standard Tatra trucks manufactured by Vectra group to the Indian Army.
    According to sources, the Defence Ministry has ordered the CBI to investigate Natrajan’s role, the BEML Chief for a decade now, in the dubious deal.
    Defence Minister A K Antony had sanctioned the order on February 21 after a probe by the Ministry and BEML officials beginning 2009 confirmed the foul play.
    The Ministry has been keeping the details under wraps for fear of jeopardizing the CBI investigations, sources said.
    However, Natrajan refused to comment on the issue when contacted by ‘Express’ saying he has already given a public statement on the Tatra trucks.
    The BEML Chief has been batting for the trucks that have been sold to the Indian Army at exorbitant prices.
    BEML used to manufacture the trucks in India under license from Vectra. By now BEML was envisaged to indigenize the trucks completely, but, only 60 percent of the heavy duty vehicles’ components are manufactured in India.
    “We have supplied 7,000 vehicles in the last 26 years. For last 10 years, I have been the Chairman of the company, not a single complaint has come from the Army Headquarters or any of the directorates. We never got complaints about Tatra vehicles that shows these vehicles are performing excellently... no complaint of any nature has come to us so far either directly or indirectly on performance,” Natrajan had said during a press conference.
    BEML had come under scanner, after Antony’s cabinet colleague Ghulam Nabi Azad had written a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi alleging irregularities on the part of Navratna Company in the Tatra truck deals. The letter was then forwarded to the Defence Ministry for investigation.
    According to the Defence Ministry, the vigilance wings of the Ministry and BEML have been examining the matter and there have been communication between the CBI and the Chief Vigilance Officer of BEML on these allegations. It was after this inquiry that Antony sanctioned a CBI probe into the matter in February this year.
    BEML chief under CBI scanner
    Following Former Chiefs must be investigated for taking bribes and tweaking the GSQR in favour of scamsters
  • General Nirmal Chander Vij: 31 December 2002 to 31 January 2005, Infantry - Dogra Regiment PVSM, UYSM, AVSM
  • General Joginder Jaswant Singh: 31 January 2005 to 30 September 2007, Infantry - Maratha Light Infantry PVSM, AVSM, VSM, ADC
  • General Deepak Kapoor: 30 September 2007 to 31 March 2010, Regiment of Artillery PVSM, AVSM, SM, VSM, ADC
  • Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    Tatra Deal: GSQR tweaked to suit scamsters?

    CBI also looking into ‘non-indigenisation’ .
    Tuesday, 10 April 2012 13:14 Rakesh K Singh | New Delhi

    The CBI that is probing the deal between UK-based Tatra Sipox and BEML for supply of Tatra trucks to the Army is also investigating the reasons for the failure on the part of defence PSU for non- indigenisation of the component manufacturing for the all-terrain vehicles.
    According to the original agreement between BEML and Omnipol, Czechoslovakia for manufacture of the all-terrain vehicles inked in March 1987, a maximum of 80 per cent of indigenisation of the component manufacturing was to be achieved by 1991-92.

    The Department of Defence Production had paid `5.49 crore as technical documentation fee to the collaborator Omnipol and made an additional investment of `29.45 crore between 1986-87 and 1990-91 for creation of necessary infrastructure for production of targeted 250 Tatra trucks per annum from 1988-89 onwards.
    “These targets, in respect of production as well as indigenisation were, however, never achieved,” said a 2000 CAG report on the performance of the defence PSU.
    The report, gathered by the CBI during the ongoing probe of the Tatra trucks deal between intermediary firm Tatra Sipox and BEML inked in 1997 in contravention of the defence procurement rules, further said, “the indigenisation programme was virtually abandoned after 1991-92 when the order level dropped drastically from an average of 146 during the preceding three years to just 2 and indigenisation attained was 50.65 per cent.”
    The CAG has also pointed out that BEML also accumulated as many as 748 non-moving inventory and 182 slow-moving inventory. The auditor had also slammed the defence PSU for not making significant profit from the investments made in the creation of facilities for Tatra trucks as BEML could mange a return of 8.28 per cent against the estimated return of 17.7 per cent by 1990-91 (year of stabilisation of the truck production).
    The Central auditor had also pointed out that the Tatra trucks supplied to Army were virtually cross-subsidised by the Bharat Dynamics Ltd and Vehicle Research and Development Establishment.
    While the FIR registered against Vectra chief Ravi Rishi, UK-based Vectra group and BEML has mentioned the year 1997 after which the supply of the trucks is being probed but sources said the agency is mulling over to enlarge the ambit of the probe.
    CBI also looking into ‘non-indigenisation’

    BEML Officials Quizzed
    The CBI on Monday examined three senior officials of finance and vigilance wings of BEML regarding the alleged irregularities in the deal for supply of Tatra trucks. Agency sources did not name the officials but said they were asked questions about different aspects of the deal between BEML and the UK-based firm. The sleuths asked from the officials the reasons for entering into an agreement with Tatra Sipox UK which was not the original manufacturer in 1997 and the renewal of the contract for supply of the trucks in 2003. The CBI is also probing if the General Staff Qualitative Requirement for procurement of the vehicles was formulated to suit the intermediary firm.
    BEML Officials Quizzed
    Comment: The former Army Chiefs are also culpable for tweaking the GSQR to suit the Tatra Scamsters. Their role needs to be investigated and exposed.

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

    Coup: Bureaucrats have become the conduits of perverse and hair- brained leaks

    One flew over the coup-coup’s nest
    Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi | Sunday, April 8, 2012

    Ever since the Chief raised the issue of his wrongly recorded date of birth, some Ministry of Defence (MoD) bureaucrats have become the conduits of perverse and hair-brained leaks that are being fed to the media. The plan is to first put down the Chief and the army, and then through a denial of those leaks, to show how good they, the bureaucrats, really are. This is warped thinking at its worst.

    Recently, one of the national newspapers reached the height of absurdity and published a so-called scoop with a banner headline, giving a perverse twist to a routine event, news which practically all newspapers and TV news channels had carried in January this year when the event had actually occurred. A simple training exercise for testing the ability of a few army units to move in the fog of north Indian winters has now taken sinister tones in their view. The newspaper has virtually accused the army, and hence the Chief, of plotting the overthrow of the government. I always thought that it was the likes of John le Carréacute; and other fiction writers who wrote mystery plots, but now we have these journalists and media persons beating writers of fiction at their own game.

    The question to be asked is that if the army really wanted to take over — and let me hasten to add that it has never wanted to — would a piece of paper, saying ‘report all moves of units towards Delhi’ be enough to stop it? Secondly, when our mechanised forces move out for operations, they do not do so on slow and cumbersome tank transporters, but they do so on tracks and they carry ammunition. Thirdly, can two units of the army carry out a takeover; the mind boggles at the naivety of the mediapersons who were apparently taken for a right royal ride, especially when there are much larger forces already stationed in Delhi, plus the large number of contingents assembled for the Republic Day Parade. Lastly, it is farcical to think that the police by slowing down traffic or posting lookouts will be able to stop an army column. Such measures are for birds, but then our bureaucrats, with their well known limitations, neither have the imagination or capability to conceive anything different.

    Military coups are to be avoided, not by instituting such puerile measures but by working together as equals, by respecting each other’s concerns, discarding and permanently burying the master-subordinate dispensation, the kind that prevails in bureaucratic thinking at present. Our army needs to be commended that despite a surfeit of wrongs committed toward it for decades and with political leaders abrogating their authority and power to the bureaucrats, the army has stood firm, utterly loyal and focused on its tasks. But how long can it continue to tolerate these assaults which are uncalled for?

    We have a unique but absurd organisation for higher defence, where the MoD is wholly staffed by the bureaucrats and has been interposed between the political leadership and the military. Are our political leaders so incompetent that they are unable to deal directly with the military, without some bureaucrat holding their hand? This absurdity must end. We need separate Departments of Army, Navy and Air Force, presided over by ministers of state, and manned jointly and equally by military and civil officials. The military must be brought in the policy formulation loop and this is best done in our context by appointing a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), who would render professional advice to the Prime Minister, Defence Minister and more importantly to the Cabinet Committee on Security. The integrated staff under him must also comprise both military and civil officials.

    We have still not been able to design a defence procurement agency that is able to procure arms, equipment and ammunition speedily and honestly. Unless this is done, no effective modernisation can take place. It is time the elected representatives take charge and ensure that the downgrading of the army and its vilification by some self-centered bureaucrats stops. The bubble of discontentment among the rank and file of the military, who have always placed service to the nation above themselves, can burst, if the political leadership fails to make changes as suggested. Neither political rhetoric nor delaying tactics like setting up committees are likely to help.

    Those who think it will be business as usual after the present Chief demits office are sadly mistaken. The Chief Designate is a highly professional officer, steeped in army ethos. He would also do what is best for the army and the nation.

    The writer is a former Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS) and former Founder Director of the Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS).
    One flew over the coup-coup’s nest

    Monday, April 9, 2012

    Payments from BEML actually goes to a Tax Haven

    Tatra deal: CBI summons BEML officials
    by FP Staff Apr 9, 2012

    The CBI has summoned several Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) officials in connection with alleged irregularities in the procurement of Tatra trucks for the Indian army. The summons comes on the back of several raids on BEML offices over the past week.
    Earlier the CBI revealed that it was looking into payments made by defence PSU BEML to Tatra Sipox UK for the supply of all-terrain trucks, and said it would send a judicial request to the United Kingdom seeking details of its financial transactions and ownerships.
    The Tatra deal has been under the CBI scanner: Reuters
    The agency suspects that payments from BEML were actually going to a tax haven, CBI sources said, adding that they are probing into it but added that the investigations are in preliminary stage.
    And according to an Army whistle blower, Brigadier (Retd) Inder Mohan Singh, asking questions with regards to the BEML – Sipox deal was a big no- no.
    The Brigadier said that he wrote in to ask for details of the price of the trucks, and for copies of the transfer of technology agreement in 2003. The very next day, he had a surprise visitor waiting in his office.
    “At 9 o clock, when my office had barely opened, a BEML officer was sitting in my office,” Brig IM Singh told CNN-IBN. “He said, ‘Sir, marwadiya sabko’ (You’ve killed everyone).”
    Asked what he meant, the visitor confided: ‘The letter you faxed yesterday will create a lot of trouble.”
    If anything, it was Brig IM Singh who found himself in trouble. His letter, making enquiries about the deal, was cancelled, and he was transferred out of the Equipment Branch.
    “The biggest middlemen and the biggest agents are the defence PSUs,” he says. “They do not manufacture anything on their own.”
    Defence journalist Ajai Shukla too says that the “real story” in the Tatra case isn’t about the performance of the trucks or about the Czech company. “It is a story that plays out day after day how the defence PSUs – like BEML in this case – take the entire system for a ride as a result of their proximity to the Ministry of Defence.”
    What BEML has done, says Shukla, is that it has bought the equipment in knocked down condition overseas, assembled it in India, added in a heavy mark-up in price, forgotten entirely about its promise of indigenisation and sold the trucks to the army at almost twice the price it bought it at.
    Meanwhile the BJP has questioned the government on as to why it continued dealing with Vectra head Ravi Rishi despite doubts being raised about the company.
    Tatra deal: CBI summons BEML officials

    AK Antony okayed Ravi Rishi's prosecution

    Tatra trucks case: AK Antony okayed Ravi Rishi's prosecution in February
    Devesh Kumar, ET Bureau Apr 7, 2012, 05.24AM IST
    Tags:Tatra truck|Sonia Gandhi|Ravi Rishi|PIO|Ghulam Nabi Azad|General VK Singh|Defence|Army Chief|AK Antony

    NEW DELHI: Defence minister AK Antony had sanctioned prosecution of Ravi Rishi, the London-based PIO who is an accused in the case of alleged irregularities in the purchase of Tatra trucks, a little over four weeks before the Army chief, General VK Singh, went public with his allegation that he had been offered a bribe of 14 crore for clearing "a tranche of 600 sub-standard vehicles".
    General Singh, who leveled this allegation in an interview to a leading national daily on March 24, also pointed out that 7,000 of those sub-standard vehicles were already in use in the Army and had been sold over the years at exorbitant prices.
    The bribery charge triggered an uproar in Parliament, forcing Antony to order a CBI probe into it. But what he failed to mention that he had already sanctioned the prosecution of Rishi, the owner of Vectra group, on February 21 this year. His action came in response to a letter forwarded to him by Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was in charge of Congress' affairs in Karnataka, in October, 2009.
    The letter, which was redirected by Antony to defence production secretary on the same day, had travelled a long way. It was written to Congress president Sonia Gandhi in August, 2009, by D Hanumanthappa, president of the Karnataka branch of the All India Federation of SC/ST/Backward Classes and Minority Employees Welfare Association, and highlighted the charge that BEML CMD VRS Natarajan had placed an order worth 6,000 crore for the purchase of Tatra trucks from a British agent and, not from the original equipment manufacturer, which was, he alleged, a violation of procurement guidelines.
    On its receipt, Sonia is said to have marked the letter to Azad, who was in charge of the party's affairs in Karnataka. The latter is learnt to have forwarded it to the defence minister. Antony, it now transpires, sent it to the defence production secretary for an internal probe into the bribery charge the day he received it from Azad.
    After conducting an inquiry on his own, the defence production secretary, it is learnt, reported to Antony that a case could indeed be made out against Ravi Rishi who, contrary to initial media reports, was not an NRI, but a person of Indian origin (PIO) settled in London.
    The case was subsequently referred to CBI, which registered a preliminary enquiry into the allegations. As it was aware of the contours of the case, the probe agency swung into action after it came to know that Rishi was planning to undertake a trip to India to participate in Defexpo India 2012, the country's biggest-ever land, naval and homeland security systems exhibition, which was inaugurated by Antony on March 29.
    CBI registered an FIR into the case on March 20 and, two days later, it issued a lookout notice to prevent Rishi from leaving the country. He has already been grilled by the investigating agency at least six times since then.
    Tatra trucks case: AK Antony okayed Ravi Rishi's prosecution in February

    Will the MOD overcome the allergy for the Military?

    Babus now oppose General Singh's vision for MoD
    April 05, 2012 20:04 IST Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi
    A recommendation to appoint officers from the defence forces at the level of director in the ministry of defence is being ferociously challenged, reports Sheela Bhatt.

    The ongoing battle between Indian Army chief General VK Singh and the ministry of defence has now spread to the level of policy making, high-level sources in the government told
    The fundamental issue in the psychological battle General Singh has waged against the government is that he wants radical changes made in the way arms deals are struck in India.
    General Singh and other retired and serving army officers would declare victory if military officers are part of the defence secretary's team when decisions on arms purchases are made at the MoD.
    Sources have told that the important sub-committee of the Task Force on National Security has recommended that officers of the defence forces be appointed at the level of director in the ministry of defence.
    It is a baby step, but an important one.
    This would dramatically change the perception of the MoD in the eyes of India's defence personnel.
    But this recommendation is being challenged ferociously. There have been reports emanating that the controversies swirling around the army chief have cast their shadows on the deliberations of the task force on national security, which was set up last July.
    In August 2011, General Singh briefed the task force, providing a comprehensive view of the issues concerning the army. He told members of the task force that there was a breakdown in the Indian Army's procurement policy.
    Surprisingly, the task force did not act urgently and bring the issue to the prime minister's notice.
    The task force seems to have treated General Singh's concerns in routine fashion. It appears the task force, which is headed by former Cabinet secretary Naresh Chandra, one of India's distinguished civil servants, is awaiting a formal completion of its assignment. It is expected to submit its report by the end of April.
    Government sources claim a group consisting of retired diplomats and civil servants have opposed the inclusion of army officers in the MoD.
    Rahul Bedi, the well-known defence expert and correspondent for Jane's Defence Weekly, says, "Since the last 20, 30 years experts have given advice to the government to induct uniformed men in the MoD. It's frightening to see delays in taking such decisions. The way this situation can escalate is very frightening. I am not saying that there is going to be a military takeover, but the morale of the soldiers is likely to be adversely affected."
    "As it is," he added, "the Indian soldier looks upon the babus (civilian bureaucrats) and politicians as chors, and this is not going to change. This (the opposition to induct military officers at the MoD) is only going to reinforce his belief and his dislike of the MoD and the babus of the MoD and the political class."
    When officers of India's armed forces sit along with the babus, Bedi says a certain responsibility and accountability will be imposed upon this newly formed establishment to make change come about.
    "Let us not forget that in all societies -- whether it is in the West or in India or in other countries around Asia -- military establishments are the last to change," says Bedi.
    "They are the most difficult to change," he adds. "I think it's about time we overcame our allergy for the armed forces."
    The core issue of the ongoing tensions between General V K Singh and the ministry of defence is that most of the powers of procurement of weapons and equipment lie with the MoD.
    It is perhaps time the Indian Army's sensitivities are taken care of in the task force's report.
    Babus now oppose General Singh's vision for MoD
    Comment: It is but natural for babu's to scuttle any honest proposals from the Military as these corrupt officials have been Milking and degrading the Military to a tootless one. We need the guts of FM Manekshaw and Gen VK Singh to fight the corrupt forces in the MOD.

    Shekar Gupta's Coup story has the Corrupt Politicans and Generals Shivering in their Chappals

    'Coup' rumours: Media's irresponsible reporting dents Army's imageBy Major General Mrinal SumanSource : SIFY Last Updated: Fri, Apr 06, 2012 13:35 hrs
    The morning of April 4, 2012 will long be remembered for the unseemly depth to which a well-known national newspaper could sink to.
    Routine training moves of two army units in January were played up to raise the spectre of military muscle-flexing. The full-page coverage reported that a unit of mechanised infantry from Hisar and a battalion of paratroopers from Agra had advanced towards the capital without official intimation, thereby causing a scare in the government circles.
    The report was not only malicious in intent; it attempted to drive a wedge between the government and the army.
    Most army units and formations are located far away from the international border. When hostilities become imminent, they have to move to their designated concentration areas with full war equipment in a very tight time frame.
    Training for such movements is called mobilisation drill. Every unit has Standing Operating Procedures that specify every vehicle’s load table for simultaneous action by all troops.
    Adeptness in orderly mobilisation is considered to indicate the state of operational readiness of a unit. Therefore, all units regularly practice and hone their mobilisation drills by moving out of their location, driving 50-100 km and camping out for the night.
    It is one of the most basic training activities, generally carried out once in three months. During their annual inspections, all units are tested for their proficiency in mobilisation by senior commanders.
    Detailed instructions exist as regards keeping the higher headquarters informed of mobilisation drills. However, for a battalion level force of 400-500 men, permission from the concerned formation headquarters is good enough.
    Thus, it was a matter of pure coincidence that two units from two unrelated formations decided to practice their mobilisation drills on the night of January 16.
    Absurdities galore
    Ludicrousness of the said report can be gauged from the following illogicalities.
  • The report viciously hints that the timing of the above drills coincided with the hearing of the Chief’s case by the Supreme Court, to insinuate that a show of force was a deliberate move. In case the Chief wanted to settle the issue in this manner, would he have appealed to the government and the Apex Court for justice? Which military strongman in the world has ever approached a court for personal redressal? General Kayani granted himself three years extension of service without reference to anyone.
  • Can a military intervention be affected with just two battalion-sized units? What stopped the Chief from mobilising the full mechanised division from Hisar and the whole paratroopers’ brigade from Agra? Additionally, there are numerous other cantonments in near vicinity of the capital.
  • The report goes to the ridiculous extent of stating that an old contingency plan to delay such a move was activated and instructions were issued to police to carefully check all vehicles on the highways leading to Delhi, with a view to slow down traffic. There cannot be a more preposterous suggestion. Which police check posts can halt the movement of mechanised forces or paratroopers?
  • It is also being questioned as to why the practicing troops had to come towards Delhi. Is Delhi not a part of India? Why should heckles go up whenever troops move towards Delhi?
    Malicious media hurts
    Indian soldiers are highly sentimental by nature. Their dedication to duty, loyalty to the nation and willingness for the supreme sacrifice are driven less by material considerations and more by an overwhelming urge to earn love and respect of their countrymen. A grateful nation’s recognition of their contribution to national security acts as the strongest motivator.
    Soldiers felt terribly let down when a leading media house invited a vicious and remorseless enemy like General Pervez Musharraf and groveled before him. It marked the lowest depths to which journalists could stoop. Instead of castigating him for Kargil war, non-release of numerous Indian prisoners of war rotting in Pakistani jails and barbaric treatment meted out to Lt Saurabh Kalia and his patrol, he was treated as a peace loving guest. Can there be a worse act of insensitivity to the families of those who sacrificed their lives for the country!
    At no stage is it being advocated that the Indian military should not be subjected to scrutiny. However, criticism should be balanced and objective. It should not be malafide in intent with the sole purpose of denigrating the services.
    The apolitical Army
    The Indian military has an unblemished record of non-interference in political affairs of the country. Throughout India’s history of thousands of years, there has been only one occasion when the military staged a coup, when the Commander-in-Chief, Pushyamitra, assassinated Bidharta, the last Mauryan Emperor in 185 BC.
    During the period of the British rule, ethos of an apolitical military was further ingrained in the psyche of the military officers. Edward Shils, in his authoritative treatise 'The Military in the Political Development of the New States' singled out India for 'stable subordination of the military to the civil power'.
    It may come as a surprise to many that discussions on political matters are taboo in the officers’ messes. Officers are politically aware but are not politically inclined. All army officers are convinced that military rule is the worst thing that can happen to a country as no nation in the world has ever prospered under military rule.
    Despite its continued marginalisation in the decision making process and regular down-gradation of the status of military leadership, there has not been a single instance of Indian military overstepping the limits of its assigned role. With its impeccable past track record of 65 years, nothing more can be done to convince an alarmist media of its total commitment to civil rule.
    VK Singh deserves respect
    Military sustains itself on the credibility that its leadership enjoys amongst the rank and file. Deliberate vilification of the image of the military leadership can upset the vital trust-loyalty equation. Therefore, any deliberate damage caused to the standing of the commanders can dent their ability to command commitment. It can prove extremely dear to the country in the long run.
    Media has faulted the Chief for insignificant and trivial matters. No one has acknowledged the strength of his character to decline an offer of 14 crore rupees. In a country where people’s representatives sell their votes for 2 crore rupees and where media carries planted stories for a few lacs, or a free ride in the Prime Minister’s aircraft, or the promise of a Padma award, or a nomination to Rajya Sabha, General VK Singh stands out as a rare exception– he deserves a grateful nation’s salute.
    Also by Major General Mrinal Suman:
    Army Chief has every right to go to court
    Scams & the Army: Silence is not golden
    Major General Mrinal Suman, AVSM, VSM, PhD, commanded an Engineer Regiment on the Siachen Glacier, the most hostile battlefield in the world. A highly qualified officer (B Tech, MA (Public Administration), MSc (Defence Studies) and a Doctorate in Public Administration) he was also the Task Force Commander at Pokhran and was responsible for designing and sinking shafts for the nuclear tests of May 1998.
    'Coup' rumours: Media's irresponsible reporting dents Army's image
  • Sunday, April 8, 2012

    PSUs like BEML are Middlemen Milking the Military

    Tatra deal: BEML was a middleman milking the system
    by FP Staff Apr 3, 2012

    The role of defence public sector undertakings like BEML that are working like middlemen in defence deals, often marking up final prices by 100 percent, is sharply in focus, after a whistleblower told CNN-IBN of the dubious role that BEML played in the Tatra truck deal.
    And with one former Army chief claiming that the Army chiefs are kept in the dark about the financial aspects of defence deals, the role of officials in the Ministry of Defence and in defence PSUs may merit a wider investigation.
    The tale narrated by the whistleblower is quite revealing.
    In 2003, Brigadier (Retd) Inder Mohan Singh, who was then in the Equipment Brach, had raised questions about BEML’s deal with Tatras Sipox UK, the UK-based company owned by Ravi Rishi, for the supply of Tatra trucks to the Army. He had written to ask for details of the price of the trucks, and for copies of the transfer of technology agreement. The very next day, he had a surprise visitor waiting in his office.
    “At 9 o clock, when my office had barely opened, a BEML officer was sitting in my office,” Brig IM Singh told CNN-IBN. “He said, ‘Sir, marwadiya sabko’ (You’ve killed everyone).” Asked what he meant, the visitor confided: ‘The letter you faxed yesterday will create a lot of trouble.”
    If anything, it was Brig IM Singh who found himself in trouble. His letter, making enquiries about the deal, was cancelled, and he was transferred out of the Equipment Branch.
    “The biggest middlemen and the biggest agents are the defence PSUs,” he says. “They do not manufacture anything on their own.”

    Defence journalist Ajai Shukla too says that the “real story” in the Tatra case isn’t about the performance of the trucks or about the Czech company. “It is a story that plays out day after day how the defence PSUs – like BEML in this case – take the entire system for a ride as a result of their proximity to the Ministry of Defence.”
    What BEML has done, says Shukla, is that it has bought the equipment in knocked down condition overseas, assembled it in India, added in a heavy mark-up in price, forgotten entirely about its promise of indigenisation and sold the trucks to the army at almost twice the price it bought it at.
    “You have a Ministry of Defence official sitting on the board of BEML, and when BEML asks for a procurement to be done or a particular supply order to be given, it is almost always granted,” says Shukla.
    “There are just two scandals in the Tatra case,” he adds. The first is BEML’s conduct. The other is how the Ministry of Defence allowed BEML to get away with this from the late 1980s until today. “It took a Gen VK Singh to disrupt this chain of scams that has been going on – and say we must consider an alternative.”
    Former Chief Vigilance Commissioner Sudhir Kumar, who has dealt with similar cases in the past, too concurs that the Tatra case highlights the fact that PSUs function “almost like middlemen.” A large number of PSUs have converted themselves into agency operations, he adds.
    Former Army chief, Gen Shankar Roychowdhury confided that the financial details of defence deals were not typically known to the Army Chief. Which is why when he served as Army chief, he had not objected to the Tatra truck deal: all he was concerned with was the vehicle’s performance, and he was well pleased with it.
    Shukla says that the focus should now turn to the role of the BEML and officials in the Ministry of Defence.
    Tatra deal: BEML was a middleman milking the system


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