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Updated: March 28, 2012 10:35 IST

How trucks drove the Army bribe row

Praveen Swami
Comment (57)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
A Tatra truck at a Republic Day parade. File photo
The Hindu A Tatra truck at a Republic Day parade. File photo

Did Czech firm Tatra sell substandard products — and then try to make payoffs to ensure it could keep doing so?

In 1999, millions of Indians watched as batteries of Indian multi-barrel rocket launchers unleashed fearsome barrages against Pakistani positions on the Kargil heights — clearing the way for soldiers who had come under withering fire as they sought to claw their way up the mountains.

In an explosive interview to The Hindu published on Monday, Chief of the Army Staff General V.K. Singh said the Tatra trucks that carried those rockets were substandard and sold at exorbitant prices. He added that there was no proper facility where they could be serviced.

Had audiences watched the trucks carefully, they would have noticed that the driver sat on the left — an extraordinary testament to how much a vehicle that began to be produced in India in 1986 still relies on imported equipment.

Lieutenant-General (retd.) Tejinder Singh, a former intelligence officer who is alleged to have offered the Army chief a Rs. 14 crore bribe, is claimed to have been trying to make sure they kept being bought.

The politics of trucks

Tatra's fortunes in India have been tied to Ravi Rishi, a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi who went on to own the London-headquartered consortium Vectra — a multinational conglomerate with interests in everything from private aviation to luxury apartments. Mr. Rishi's crown jewel, though, is his controlling interest in Tatra — a Czech firm he picked up cheap, amid the collapse of eastern Europe's arms industry after the cold war.

Founded in 1850, Tatra supplies trucks to at least 23 militaries, among them the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. In 1973, Israel was so impressed by the Tatra trucks captured from its Arab adversaries that it began importing them, using Rumanian president Nicolai Ceausescu's cash-starved regime as a conduit.

In 1986, when India began a great wave of military modernisation, Mr. Rishi steered Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's government towards picking Tatra. Public sector giant BEML was given a licence to manufacture the trucks. In the years since, almost 7,000 have been built.

Mr. Rishi declined to be interviewed for this article. The Ministry of Defence, however, said on Monday it had not received a single complaint about the truck, a very different account to that given by Gen. Singh.

The sceptical General

Weeks after taking office, Gen. V.K. Singh stalled an order for 788 new Tatra trucks approved by his predecessor, arguing the vehicle was overpriced and underperformed. Earlier, as General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Army Command, General Singh had considered the competing claims of Ural, a Russian-Indian joint venture, and had been impressed.

In 2009, highly placed military sources said Gen. Singh had informally used two Ural trucks to ferry supplies to Sikkim. His staff reported the trucks were better-powered than their Tatra competitors.

Led by Kolkata-based businessman J.K. Saraf, Ural is a joint venture between Russian firm Uralaz and Mr. Saraf's Motijug industries, which manufactures heavy vehicles at Haldia, in West Bengal. Ural did not respond to e-mail seeking its comments.

Gen. Singh, as Chief of the Army Staff, wanted to give Ural and other firms a chance to bid for the Army's truck contracts. His decision to open up bidding is what, the General's aides claim, led to the effort to bribe him. Even though Tatra did not sell directly to the Army, they argue, it still sold high-priced components to BEML — and thus had an interest in ensuring the sales continued.

Hard questions

There's little doubt Tatra components seem overpriced: a jack, for example, costs Rs. 30,000. There are claims that Indian-made four-wheel drive platforms cost Rs. 18 lakh or less, to the Tatra's Rs. 80 lakh — and that the BEML-made Tatra sells for substantially more than it is available off the shelf abroad.

Like so much to do with military procurement, though, it is unclear if the high prices have to do with corruption — or India's complex defence procurement policies.

For one, indigenisation of the vehicle has gone slowly. Last year, BEML's director V.R.S. Natarajan said the Tatra was now 60 per cent Indian-made — up from 21 per cent in 2002. BEML finally began making its own Tatra engines in-house. The truck ought, however, to have been wholly Indian-made by now, leading to allegations that BEML is wilfully importing form Tatra at high cost.

“It's easy,” said a military engineer linked with BEML, disagreeing, “to point fingers, but these are complex financial questions. BEML, for example, imports left-hand drive axles, because setting up new ones for right-hand drive would cost hundreds of crores. There's no guarantee the Army will order enough trucks for that to make sense.”

High pricing has dogged almost all Indian efforts to indigenise complex foreign-made products, because of the enormous costs of setting up production lines to manufacture low volumes.

The Ministry of Defence has long argued these investments are worthwhile despite their costs, since they help India build up long-term industrial capacities with civilian technology spin-offs.

India's next order for Army trucks — some 1,500, to be tested rigorously and purchased through a competitive process — will establish whether it is possible to get better trucks for less money. It is unlikely, though, to address the larger problems that dog the acquisition process.

More In: National | News

Hats off to the entire Hindu team in bringing this scandal into lime light.
TOI published the article "Wake up Chennai". Now its time for The Hindu to publish an article "Wake up India". TOI gets their paper sold by just publishing news and photos of skin-show.

from:  Nataraj
Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 17:48 IST

Entire nation is under the hands of these corrupt people. Earlier it was ministers who were involved in 2G scam and this time its the Army. Congress will never pass the Lokpal bill and the poor Team Anna's struggle to eradicate corruption will probably remain as a dream.

from:  Nataraj
Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 17:43 IST

Dear Countrymen, try sell
something to the defence
forces, one will know how
corrupt and painful the
system is . . . less said
the better. jai hind!

from:  Jagdeesh Laxman Singh
Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 17:36 IST

Mr.Swami,Thanks for giving indepth story of all this murky affair
As it appears,there is no performane deficiency and complaints from the user( Army).Probably the Army Chief might have driven the vehicle and found some thing bad.He should have as a rasonable Authority would have appointed a committe to find out defiencies and act on it with Supplier or look for a better Vehicle.The Army Chief or Any other concerned authority has not taken interest. Coming to the pricing,The ARMY CHIEF came with multitude of complaints ( which will be music for our enemies},that too with a self interest to promote "Ural Trucks".To comoflauge this attempt,he raised multitude of issues with Government. If the Army is such a rotten place,why did he continue long years with out taking any positive action at any time in his career.Instead,he was fighting to change his date of birth and continue for some more time.

from:  Satya
Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 17:25 IST

" General Singh had considered the competing claims of Ural, a Russian-Indian joint venture, and had been impressed.

Led by Kolkata-based businessman J.K. Saraf, Ural is a joint venture between Russian firm Uralaz and Mr. Saraf's Motijug ind., which manufactures heavy vehicles at Haldia, in W Bengal. Ural did not respond to e-mail seeking its comments."

Okay, now we know why Ambica Banerjee the Bengali politician in Trinamool Congress is hailing Gen VK Singh as a crusader. Mr Banerjee was on joint campaign on behalf of Gen VK Singh and Mr Saraf. If Ural trucks are so much better why this manipulation? If there really were substantial bribes paid to procure order for over 700 Tatra trucks then I am sure there would have been much more pressure on Gen VK Singh than just Gen Tejinder Singh's offer of Rs 14 crore.

Murky situation...here. Nevertheless what is the track record of Ural trucks that Gen VK Singh is reportedly enamored with? Fascinating stuff? Ural wants preproduction orders

from:  Simran
Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 04:47 IST

with all due respect to people who prefer sourcing from domestic players,
1. Indian HCV makers don't make products that are good enough, in terms of performance or reliability. if you are going to war, you want your equipment to be reliable and be able to perform in adverse circumstances. The hard truth is that indian automakers aren't making good enough products, and they don't have the know-how to make these either. 2. the problem seems to lie in techno-commerical negotiations that were done rather than the product itself, which is coming from a vehicle maker with war machines in DNA. 3. it will be good if we could get a bit more into the claimed technical deficiencies in vehicle. Why is BEML not inmproving on it? 4. why is the PSU not making an effort in doing some real work rather than living on taxpayers money and contracted design?.. Be it TATRA, or any other maker, we need to know what we want, and we need to be smart and competitive to get it..

from:  Ankur
Posted on: Mar 29, 2012 at 14:35 IST

India should go the way Korea or Taiwan created their industries. But that too is full
of corruption as contracts and favors were given to some industrial houses like
Daewoo, Samsung or Hyundai. These industries were favored with easy loans, large
contracts with a mandate to give results, corruption and bribes were a part of deal.
India does not follow this model.

Procurement of any product or equipment requires a team effort which has technical,
operational, and financial acumen. if any one of these three is missing, the process
shall fail and you end up getting either a poor quality product at high price or maybe
an acceptable quality product which is not well negotiated.

In any committee, even if one person is corrupt, he shall leak information, take
bribes and promote poor quality product of his choice. If other members of the
committee are not smart they can easily be duped into agreeing to corrupt
reasoning. For this reason the functioning of a committee should be transparent.

from:  Arun
Posted on: Mar 29, 2012 at 13:20 IST

Is it just me or is Gen VK Singh one of the biggest traitors this country has ever
had?
He knew of all of this information and rather than act on it, he chose to keep it in a
dossier for use another day; in this instance, a vendetta against those who accused
him of being an older man by year.
Now we hear him saying the tanks have no ammunition, special forces do not have
special weapons, air force planes are old, etc.
Sir, what in the world were you doing when you were in charge??
This man has single-handedly tarnished the integrity of the Forces.
Please teach this man's treachery in school texts lest we get another like him!

from:  Amarjeet Singh
Posted on: Mar 29, 2012 at 09:46 IST

Good job General V K Singh, wish you good luck and all success. May the crooks get
their just desserts.

from:  Ajay Singh
Posted on: Mar 29, 2012 at 03:02 IST

The whole of Gurgaon & Sriperumbudur is filled with automobile industry.
Two decades ago the production of Maruti at their Gurgaon factory was
575 cars a day. Tatas & Leylands have been manufacturing trucks since
long long ago and have put up number of units in India. Still the
government wants to import trucks. What does it mean?

from:  Srinivasan
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 23:15 IST

If I remember correctly several private (mostly likely Indian made) trucks were hired to transfer army supplies during the Kargil war. Similarly the US hires several private trucks to move supplies from Karachi to Afghanistan over the Khyber pass. Not sure why the government needs to go for imports. Just buy it from the Tatas.

The root of corruption is that the Indian government is in businesses it should not be in. The name of the game is privatize. India needs an equivalent of the Republican party who are constantly for lower taxis, small government etc.

from:  Sanjay C
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 20:06 IST

A very good article. Simple and to the point. I hope the Hindu will make a repository of articles , based on important issues, so that the reader gets the whole picture at one go. But what was the conclusion of the bid that Singh proposed and who and how was it won?

from:  tsm
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 19:06 IST

Money is the root of all evil.If anyone thinks that corruption can be eliminated he is in a dream.It is not the govt.per se but the human heart that is corrupted.Making quick bucks with whatever means.The views expressed by Giri and Kumar seems the right approach for the problems faced by the military.

from:  kirubakaran
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 19:00 IST

This is a case where a PSU has connived with agents/businessmen. BEML stands totally discredited.

from:  gregor
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 18:15 IST

It is not that we do do not have talents and skills in producing fist hand vehicles and equipments. The appointment system in PUS are under political influence. When less than 50% talented people are not available it is sure to be incompetent. Added to that high enjoyment facilities are provided in the backyard by the interested parties.

from:  Ramachandran.M
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 18:03 IST

Our PSUs are incable of designing and making anything. Wrong
recruitment policies,poor pay and promotion aspects and a
wrong sense of pride is what makes them so inefficient.
The best talent in our country go to the IIT and then to USA. The
film 3 idiots brings this out in a nice manner. This is the reason
that many inventions in the USA are conceived by Indians. In
India we have the backwards in intelligence going to the PSUs.I
personally knew a gentleman who became the Chief of R and D
in the Defence who did not know many basic things. But he was
good at giving dinners and parties. As one who has worked
'hands on' on the Tatra trucks, I can vouch that there is nothing
difficult in designing such a truck. Tatas or Ashok Leyland can
easily tackle the job if given a chance. BEML is a PSU which is
good in making rail coaches designed 50 years back by the
Swiss.Designing trucks is not their cup of tea. So Tatra will reign
supreme for some time to come. St.Anthony has no option !

from:  S N IYER
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 17:25 IST

Setting up an institution like DRDO to manufacture logistic vehicles for
Indian Military is an option? It creates employment too for the Indian
public. May be a long term initiative, but worth trying.

from:  Prasad
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 16:50 IST

The corruption in defence procurement is as old the days of Nehru when Krishna Menon was involved in the Jeep scandal.subsequently it was Rajiv Gandhi and the Bofor's.the practice carries on and to pretend otherwise is foolishness.With the cloak of secrecy much gets buried in the defence deals..It is time India goes indigenous in its defence supply both from the point of corrupt influences but also as self reliant source of supply.

from:  H.N.Ramakrishna
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 15:40 IST

The only reason this continues in India is because the 'DEATH PENALTY' will never be invoked. Majority of Indians are educated in their daily life to somehow learn to bribe their way in life and this sticks on till the end of everyone's life. Only a hard rule of 'DEATH PENALTY OR RIGOROUS LIFE IN PRISON' could help eliminate if ever people are really concerned - but I don't think real concern can overcome the huge corruption stench in the Indian system - which needs Supersonic rules to punish such criminals.

from:  Paul
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 15:29 IST

When Volvo Low floor city buses can cost 90 lakhs (India made) whys should not this 4WD Military Vehicle cost 80 Lakh?

from:  Muralidharan. G
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 14:15 IST

When huge quantities of a product is purchased by the government, that
too on recurring basis,quality is not insisted. A government is formed
with the support of elected MPs. Large quantity of MPs can be found
only in political parties. To run a political party and also to win in
the elections they need money, lots of it. From where they will get
such kind of money? The donations from people are not enough.
Corporate would want big orders to compensate for the huge donation
they make to political parties. Without removing the root cause India
tries to solve problems superficially. Unless we shed our hypocrisy,
India can never be a suitable country for our Genxt, who if not
restrained, will be more than a match to other countries.

from:  mvrangaraajan
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 14:02 IST

Almost half of the budget is spent on the defence expenses annually. A
through audit of the expenditure and published in a national newspaper
like The Hindu would brings things to light every year before the
allcoation.
This is just a tip of the iceberg.

from:  vijay
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 13:26 IST

Overcoming difficult acquisition process should have been targeted by Gen.Singh through media, so that nation would have been benefited.Efforts to prove oneself honest is welcome.But the rotten system will never abandon its sorry state without a strike at right moment with clear intention.

from:  Radha Kumud Das
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 13:22 IST

Well is it Tatra or TATA? I was confused for moment there, when I
first heard the name. Took for the granted that it was a typo. Maybe
its because I was so confident on our capability for building a truck
that can service our army requirement. Our truck companies are not
local anymore they are a good global presence. It is disappointing
that a country that dreams on space endeavors is unable to manufacture
a good truck for the army. Clearly the government should be ashamed
for its failure.
However, the 'bribery row' is not a shocker given the level of
corruption at every level in a government institute. Is offering a
bribe is a crime here? I donno what are you supposed to think when a
gov. officer complains on a product that accepted over years without a
complain. Somehow we are all tuned to think when a gov. officer
questions an some issue, he is in for some undertable favor.

from:  Kheer
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 13:04 IST

I see a lot of comments here questioning why the domestic suppliers
are not able to design and manufacture these high end vehicles on
there own -the truth of the mater is that we cannot just copy and
paste these designs from foreign manufacturers. There are
international patents covering these designs and we have some
international commitments to protect these patents.
But the bigger reason for the failure of domestic manufacturers not
being able to design and manufacturer is lack of R&D. The Govt. of
India is not encouraging R&D in India. Look at our locally
manufactured cars - they still use carburator & coil spring suspension
- and it has been over 50 years since car manufacturing started in
India.
The Public sector is inefficient and there is too much red tape & the
private sector is out to maximize its profits. Unfortunately for us
citizens of India, our leaders & our politicians are hand in glove
with the public sector and pvt sector to promote backwardness & inefficiency.

from:  JMJ
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 12:58 IST

Should the Indian military really feel that it has no option except to buy foreign equipment, why did it settle for some low quality Czech product, when for a similar price, it could have bought excellent German equipment? For the same reason, I really do not understand why the IAF settled for Rafale, when the Eurofighter seems so much better.

from:  Sam
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 12:53 IST

Few points for the readers of this article from an Engineer:

1.Tatra trucks arent necessarily antique technology. There are careful choices with regard to serviceability and maintainability at extreme conditions. I believe it uses a 2 stroke air cooled Diesel engine, eliminating a lot of parts which can fail in use.
2.Tatra's suspension + drivetrain is a unique one which is desi
gned to prevent damage and take huge punishment. Its a well designed one. No fault here.

One point that we have to concede is that Tatra's engines might be underpowered especially at higher altitudes (rarified air) compared to turbo charged engines of its competitors.

The issue mostly seems to be the price and this is something BEML (a government entity) has to control. Let the Army not place orders to BEML and place order to a private party. MOD's game now.

FYI, iam not on employ in any industry related to Tatra/any other truck company. Iam an automotive enthusiast with interest in automotive technologies

from:  Subbu
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 12:26 IST

Is Tatra the only option with the Army?

Whatever happened to the amazingly powerful and 100% indigenous
Stallion manufactured by Ashok Leyland?? I believe it would be
possible to incorporate any kind of launcher onto the Stallion
(which by the way is available in 4x4 and 6x6 configurations)

from:  NED
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 12:06 IST

Defence purchase is complex. No one trusts anyone here. Army thinks that the civilian bureaucracy puts obstacles for political, diplomatic and financial reasons and blocks purchase of their genuine requirements. Civilian bureaucracy, thinks using complex jargon of the military technology the Army is always trying to fool them. If you want the best, you have to have middle men who will bring the supplier and purchaser together. Because the best has to have an edge over adversary's equipment and secrecy is involved in some finer aspects of specifications you cannot have a tendering system like construction of National Highways. Then the conflict between make or buy. Army will want equipment now and so will buy. Civilian authorities have to show case their patriotism by proclaiming publicly pursuit of shibboleths like self reliance and self sufficiency.
Volume and continuity of order . No Private firm in its senses will venture unless it can "gold plate" and earn profits.

from:  R.Sundaram
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 11:27 IST

It takes so many years to indigenously produce a truck from an existing, well documented design? Despite all the complexities that may be involved here, this seems a little too lame for a country that wants to develop its own fighter aircraft and helicopters and has gone a long way in space exploration. The real question is - why aren't our esteemed engineering and technology institutions given the job of designing a vehicle specific to our needs? Are we simply reluctant to trust our brain reserves? Or is it because there are no kickbacks to be made if ten engineers came up with a solution in our own backyard?

from:  B S Kumar
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 10:46 IST

The problem is politics comes in the way of anyone making any objective assessment. BEML may say that Tatra is difficult to indigenise and that components are very expensive and so on. Today with good engineering and assembly technology, it is possible to put together any vehicle design using Standard off the shelf components. This is true particularly in automotive sector. Call it a car, a truck, a 4WD, an all terrain vehicle, military truck and so on. All global brand names in military vehicles use standard components and put together a good vehicle. Essential is understanding how vehicle is designed. This argument about indigenising a 25 year old Czech design does not hold much water in a country where engineers are working as bus conductors due to lack of technical employment opportunities. Why try to reproduce a bad design of 1960 and plead helplessness? Has anyone tried to indigenise intel 486 processor or have we moved on? Think,this is the only faculty that's free.

from:  madhusudan giri
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 10:43 IST

Its a another big shame for the nation.The rotten policies of the
defence ministry that the nation has been facing since 50 years.Now
what action government will take that will be important.The culprits
who ever its from Defence ministry or from the Army office,whether its
former defence minister or ARMY or presents should be booked under law
other wise nation will face thounsands of such scandals in future also
which will be treat to national security.

from:  Amrityen Pegu
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 10:33 IST

I remember a joke which we shared in our childhood days. The joke goes like this
A Thief enters a House for robery at midnight. The house owner awakes from sleep and catches the thief. The thief plays a trick of paying house owner a Bribe of Rs.5. The house owner allows the thief to rob his house after accepting the Bribe.
The same situation is occuring all over. Corruption in Blood, Genes !

from:  Prashant
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 10:21 IST

China was the largest buyer of arms in the world. Now, no more. India is the largest buyer today. China has indigenized defence production long back. India's woes and miseries in indigenization of even the much touted MBT and LCA are well known to the public. Self-sufficiency in defence production is possible. For that we require committed leaders like Dr. Kalam who brought pride and self-sufficiency to India in missile technology.

from:  Syed
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 10:00 IST

It is surprising that the TATA and Leylands which make fairly rugged vehicles cant make a simple 4W Drive truck. Are these companies so inept that they canr manufacture basic trcuks. Leave alone high end Defence systems. This is clear eveidence of the nexus between Defence PSU and Tatra. Had prices crashed BEML could have produced this in large numbers and even sold it in the civilian market. It is sad to see that despite St. Anthony at the head of the Defence ministry over the past 8 years we have not been able to clean the up the system.

from:  DS Kumar
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 09:51 IST

Bravo! It is such articles that makes the Hindu stand apart from others. Cheers Mr. Swami!

from:  Saurabh Jha
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 09:46 IST

Nice exposition of facts. Curious case is, there will always be justification from the suppliers that their production cost is higher so they are selling the trucks at higher price; however, there should have been bidding process at place to ensure parity. Everything should be transparent including of bidding and the decisions that are made on selection of the bidder.

from:  Deepak Tiwari
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 09:34 IST

"Mr. Rishi steered Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's government towards picking Tatra" What a revealing statement! It looks that the truck suppliers continue to enjoys the support of "the family". Nothing else explains the reticence of Anthony getting promptly near to the truth!

from:  N.G. Krishnan
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 09:05 IST

India desperately needs transparency in governance and administration. People wishing to serve in public life must bare it all - be it be legislatures or babus. This shall alone bring honesty and INDIANness within us.

from:  DehatiBharti
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 09:03 IST

is it really so hard to test sample defense equipment, make a comparison chart and a competent authority to finalize the best and put a note of explanation for decision?
It seems the reason is more so that 'they' don't want to do it.

is this what we chose them for?

from:  raghu
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 09:01 IST

Army always in on a tight budget, thanks to our annual financial budget
and scam-of-the-day everyday.

from:  Shivanand Sharma
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 08:55 IST

Its depressing. More depressing to see that parliamentarians are busy in discussing their own benefits rather than ways to make any improvement . . . and if not the parliamentarians, then who has the responsibility to make ways to improve?

from:  Dr. Manish Kumar
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 08:51 IST

1. Does it matter whether an army vehicle is Left handed or Right handed? 2. How much sales and revenues have accrued to BEML through its truck sales to Army and others in the country - cumulatively since it started in 1983? 3. What is the current level of localisation? 4. What is the investment by BEML in Tatra trucks manufacture? How many people are engaged in its manufacture? 5. What does BEML have to say on the General's public comment on the quality? 6.Who owns BEML and who manages it? What is its record as a PSU? 7. Is all this a campaign against Tetra or is it to benefit someone else? If so whom?

from:  v.ram
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 08:23 IST

I smell the powders of the 'Bofors Gun',in your report????Now the
role/inaction of the (in)Defencible Minister is clearer."Party is
God",its heridatary leaders are "Angels".

from:  Kandasamy Koomarasamy
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 08:04 IST

Sad. A story that laments the lack of leadership that ails our state of affairs. What about the army's need for 788 trucks which was cleared by his predecessor? How is the army managing without those?

from:  Joseph
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 07:43 IST

I'm wondering why such trucks or vehicles cannot be made in India. Why are we depending on foreign countries for every technology. Is that all our students coming out of colleges are worth for nothing or is that the government? I admire the Germans and other similar nationals for showing their patriotism in some way of contribution not just by lobbying.

from:  Ramakrishnan
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 07:22 IST

Thank you Mr. Swami for illuminating the issue at hand. For lay people like us we had no way of knowing the relative merits or lack of of Tatra trucks. I hope competitive bidding for trucks would lead to lower cost without sacrificing quality.

from:  Jitendra Dutta
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 06:38 IST

If people watch Italian roads a large number of trucks are right hand drive though it is a left hand drive country . And it is no great deal to make a right hand drive vehicle.So a left hand drive vehicle in a right hand drive country cannot be linked to corruption.

from:  raghavan
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 06:00 IST

It is sad that the tax-payers money is being squandered in this manner. Why we need to import trucks, when there are good domestic auto manufacturer who can supply quality products as per specifications of the Army and that too at very competitive price? There is no need to import items which are manufactured in India and domestic technology is already developed. Imports are required only for ultra-modern weapons, whose technology wr do not possess and by having these kind of weapons will give us competitive edge. The entire procurement policy needs a rethink.

from:  Pramod Patil
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 05:56 IST

It is highly unfortunate that even in 21st century we depend on imports of arms , that too trucks. It is high time we go for indigenous truck which should compete in international market.

from:  Sunil Panda
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 05:11 IST

The question unanswered still is, what are the performance issues that make Tatra substandard?

from:  Sachi R
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 03:55 IST

Great editorial , facts stated rather than mere corruption bashing from a moral stand-point

from:  ishan
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 03:10 IST

..the scary part is a former intelligence officer doing it.

from:  Vignesh
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 02:09 IST

If stock of all the trucks bought are checked, I am sure atleast part of the trucks will be missing. Paid --but never received.

from:  Marudha
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 02:01 IST

It is indeed sad that India has to still import trucks, guns, aircraft etc for the military. India certainly has the trained manpower to design and build such equipment but relying on the notoriouly inefficient public sector undertakings has cost the country dearly. Apart from the questions of cost and inefficiency, the country risks being held to ransom by other countries from whom items are imported as happened in the case of the aircraft carrier purchased from Russia. It would be better to let the private sector do the work of designing and building these equipment as is done in many advanced countries such as the US, UK etc.
Corruption might not end with privitization of defense production unless there are clear cuts rules and transparency in awarding contracts. Above all, what is needed are honest leaders who will ensure the passage of such laws and their strict enforcement.

from:  krishna
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 01:16 IST

Wait a minute... Are we so backward that we cant build a proper army truck by ourselves? By gods grace .... I am talking about a truck... not a lambo

from:  Srinivas
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 01:14 IST

Reading Praveen’s articles and few media shows on this subject, it looks like for few this is not a surprise. Mr. Anthony silence …is it a slip or helplessness? Even had he thought, would he be able to prevent? If the malpractice was challenged only once during last 10 to 15 years, what more is hidden inside?
Are there powerful people behind? >Does Praveen know who it is? Are our honest political leaders, media editors and bureaucrats really showing us the mirror?

from:  Venkatraja
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 00:08 IST
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