Defence Minister A.K. Antony has said that his Ministry will initiate action if any flaws have been found in the 2008 contract with an Indian firm for procuring Rs. 500 crore worth equipment required for critical image intelligence analysis.
Speaking to reporters at a meet-the-press programme in Kannur on Saturday, Mr. Antony said that he had ordered for a probe into the alleged anomalies in the contract immediately after the issue was brought to
his notice. Whenever any complaint, big or small, involving the Defence Ministry or Defence Forces was raised, he would immediately call for a detailed investigation, he said, adding that there was no question of covering up any allegation against such complaints. He said that if the contract with Rolta, the Indian company contracted for the supply of the equipment, had been found to have been flawed as alleged, the Ministry would take action against those responsible.
It was The Hindu that in an expose reported that the Army’s imagery interpretation capabilities have been compromised by flawed contract placed with Rolka as the firm was relieved of its responsibility to provide free upgrades in 2008.
To a question on the developments in Pakistan rumoured in the wake of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s hospitalisaton in Dubai, Mr. Antony said the situation in the neighbouring country was worrisome. India was closely monitoring the developments in Pakistan, he said, adding that a stable and peaceful Pakistan was in the best interests of India. He said that India favoured efforts to improve the relationship with Pakistan despite the latter’s failure to dismantle 42 terror training camps functioning in its territories as urged by India.
In reply to a question on an Iranian armed ship anchored in India’s exclusive economic zone, he said that the government was continuing its discussion with the Iranian authorities on the issue. To another question on the demand for lifting the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in States such as Jammu and Kashmir and Manipur, Mr. Antony said that he was not in favour of a public debate on the issue on which his Ministry had a clear view. The government was discussing all aspects of the demand, he added.