Saturday, April 7, 2012

‘Coup politics’: Did a senior minister plant the spooky report?

India's role models for corruption- A Banana Republic?

Quiz: Can anyone guess the Senior Congress Minister and who his relative is?
by FP Staff Apr 5, 2012
The sensational report in the Indian Express on Wednesday, which insinuated that the civilian government was perturbed by unreported Army troop movements on the night of January 16 in and around New Delhi, may have been ‘masterminded’ by a senior minister in the UPA government, according to media accounts.
The Indian Express report, which suggested (without saying so explicitly) that the government was fearful of a ‘coup’ by the Army chief, Gen VK Singh (who was then locked in an unprecedent conflict over his date of birth), was intended to “drain away support for Gen Singh” from within the political establishment, according to The Sunday Guardian.
Citing unidentified sources, the Sunday Guardian claims that the senior minister “tricked the (Indian Express) into running a baseless report”; it alleges, sensationally, that the senior minister’s relative is connected to arms procurement lobbies that have been “gunning for” Gen VK Singh for his having taken on corruption in defence purchases.
“A close relative of the minister in question has been regularly meeting with arms merchants and their lobbyists, including on his many visits abroad,” the newspaper said, citing its sources.
It speculated, citing other military sources, that the insinuation about a coup attempt was intended not merely to discredit the Army chief but to paralyse the Army in its training functions. “Already, procurements have slowed to dangerous levels… Should the military’s freedom to undertake routine training exercise of the sort described… get curtailed (because of imagined fears of a coup), the military would very son lose its fighting edge,” it added.
But Indian Express editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta, the man at the centre of a Twitter storm following the publication of the article, dismissed the allegations that the government had fed him the sensational story.
The suggestion that “someone in government would give me the story to publish… runs into many contradictions,” Gupta told CNN-IBN late on Wednesday.
“If the story was given to us by the government to put a General in his place, why would the government deny it?” Gupta wondered. “We are not such clowns that we would put ourselves up to these denials.”
The report that the Indian Express published was based entirely on facts, Gupta told NDTV. “We look at facts, we check them, we assess them and then we put them out in public domain…”
Acknowledging that people either say that it was a government plant or that “we are traitors”, Gupta noted that Indian Express had staked its credibility on the report. “We put our necks on the line. This is not a blog under a funny name like kaala kutta or safed billi… this is a genuine newspaper story… A lot of work has gone into it. We are quite happy to put facts like this in the public domain. Let them be scrutinised.”
As Firstpost has noted before, the entire controversy surrounding the tensions between the Army establishment and the civilian government – which are at the heart of the Indian Express article – are linked to the shadowy world of arms procurement deals.
That intricate web involves, by some accounts, some Indian politicians, even if there is as yet no confirmation of the role they played.
An earlier column in The Sunday Guardian (here) had explicitly named the Minister who, it alleged, is at the centre of the controversy.  Subramanian Swamy too has alleged that the high-profile Union Minister’s son was linked to arms agents.
The plot is thickening. Now that the can of worms has been opened, much more muck is sure to come tumbling out.
‘Coup politics’: Did a senior minister plant the spooky report?

Quiz answer: A wild guess only- Mr P Chidambaram and his relative who is none other than his son who is an arms lobbyist. Will the powerful be tagged? Prime Minister ManMohan Singh is powerless to reign in the corrupt. What the corrupt Politicans desire is an immobilised Military which will line their pockets. Two hoots to National security that seems the motto of the Home Minister. One is sure Sekhar Gupta will be amply rewarded for his spooky story. One can expect many more encores from the duo...

Friday, April 6, 2012

Did arms lobby neuter both Antony and Gen VK Singh?

Apr 6, 2012 by RSN Singh, Canary Trap
The biggest curse for any Indian today is probity. Had Gen VK Singh accepted the Rs 14 crore bribe he claimed he was offered, he would have been the darling of the establishment and would have rode to the office of governor of some state on retirement.
The revelations by the army chief regarding an attempt to bribe him by a Lt Gen during the course of an interview with a national daily was known to this author and informed people in the journalist fraternity. The fact that there exists evidence by way of a taped conversation between the said Lt Gen and the army chief is also not a new input. This author had written about the role of this Lt Gen in trying to bribe the army chief at the behest of certain arms supplier in an earlier Firstpost article, “Who’s trying to fix the army chief by raking up his age?” in July 2011.
This article was widely circulated. The offer of bribe was to push the sale of Tatra vehicles at an exorbitant price. A particular firm was purchasing second-hand Tatra vehicles and selling it through Bharat Earth Movers Ltd (BEML) at more than double the cost. Reportedly, while the cost of each vehicle off the shelf was around Rs 30-40 lakh, there was a bid by the arms lobby to sell it to the Indian army for about Rs 1 crore.
The army chief refused to put the army and the country to such a massive loss of tax-payer money. It is then that the Lt Gen allegedly offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore. When the army chief did not relent, he is understood to have pleaded that army chiefs before the present incumbent had all played ball and those who will succeed him would also do so. Tatra vehicles have been procured by the Indian army since 1986.
Significantly, the army chief said that he immediately reported the matter to the defence minister and offered to quit if he was considered a ‘misfit’. This offer to quit is pregnant in import, and its depth and linkages are yet to unravel.
A conscientious and God-fearing defence minister did acknowledge in the Rajya Sabha that the matter was indeed reported to him and he stated that he sank his head in his hands. Was it because of the conflict between his ‘head and heart’? Or in other words, was it because of the conflict between the defence minister’s personal integrity and political integrity or political compulsions?
It is rather well known that the defence minister has always held the army chief in very high esteem for reasons of personal integrity, something which resonates with his own personality. Some sources have revealed to this author that Antony had almost decided to rule in favour of Gen VK Singh in respect to the date of birth controversy after the first opinion of the law ministry, which categorically upheld the general’s contention. It was then that powers in positions superior to Antony compelled him to readdress the case to the law ministry. It did weigh heavily on his conscience, and there were political offers and assurances to recompense the hurt caused by the deliberate miscarriage of truth and justice in ways more than one.
The general found it hard to buy the bargain on a basic issue that questioned his character. Notwithstanding the efforts of emissaries he did not relent and offered to resign. The political class, prodded by a megalomaniac bureaucracy for fear of the ‘succession plan’ being upset in deference to the arms lobby, as also the unacceptable adverse political fallout for reasons of political funding requirements, began to threaten the general that should he choose to offer his resignation it would not be accepted.
The general was thus driven to the Supreme Court.
The establishment, more so powers superior to Antony, were unnerved by this development, as they were acutely conscious that the general’s case was ‘open and shut’. Leave alone experienced lawyers, even a first year law student will vouch for the fact. What happened thereafter is well known. Every institution in India has probably discredited itself in this age row.
It is not that the army was not confronted earlier with such instances of discrepancies in dates of birth of officers. They are routine and are resolved quickly and appropriately. An exactly similar case was resolved in the late 1990s just one day before the retirement of one Col Ramesh Chandra Dixit. VK Singh was made the first and last exception. Last exception, because the MoD or the Army Headquarters consequent to their ruling on Gen VK Singh’s age, cannot legally dare to reiterate that the Army List, or the Military Secretary’s Branch enjoy primacy over the Adjutant General’s Branch with matters pertaining to date of birth of officers.

What was therefore perpetrated on the army chief was a fraud. A fraud so outrageous that it seemingly reduces India to the category of Banana Republic. Who perpetrated this fraud? It was two army chiefs in succession, whose reputations are today under attack for their unsavory deeds and involvement in various scams. Imagine an army chief appropriating flats meant for families of Kargil martyrs.
Can it get worse? It is no wonder that these army chiefs, who as father figures, should have protected the professional and personal integrity of their subordinates, chose to force Gen Singh to accept a particular date of birth, failing which there was an implied threat that the controversy would be used to derail him. They should have instead apologised for the omissions and commissions of a particular branch of the army headquarters. Once the so-called ‘acceptance’ was obtained on the repeated plea of ‘organisational constraints’, the army chiefs began to breath easy.

Gen Singh’s subsequent pleadings to explain the ‘organizational constraints’ fell on deaf ears. The sigh of relief was because the ‘succession plan’ as desired by the arms lobby was now in place.
The Indian army and the army personnel as such are not safe under such chiefs.

The bureaucrats became part of the design only after Gen Singh raked up the issue of his date of birth as COAS (Chief of Army Staff). Four former chief justices of India, all of them with impeccable credentials, gave opinions in his favour, but this did not appeal to the moral sense of the ministry. That the law ministry gave an opinion categorically upholding Gen Singh’s stand, did not help. When the general said it was not a question of additional few months, but his honour, it did not help. He was ridiculed, not only …………….by the political and bureaucratic establishment but by some retired generals as well.

These retired generals are now, courtesy television channels, very familiar faces. All of them have a dubious past. One of them was forced to resign from the army because of IB reports regarding his indiscriminate womanising. The other is known to have run away with his senior’s wife, and the third was in the dock for possessing a false degree. So much for the detractors of Gen Singh!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Troop movement report is irresponsible journalism: Ex-deputy Army chief

Troop movement report is irresponsible journalism: Ex-deputy Army chief
Source: Anupriya Kumar, | Last Updated 22:14(04/04/12)

New Delhi: The front-page Indian Express report on the late night January 16 military movement is an exaggerated account of a routine military exercise, and is an example of irresponsible journalism, Lieutenant General (Retired) Raj Kadyan said today.
In an exclusive interview to, the former Former deputy Army chief said that before publishing the report, the newspaper should have carried a preliminary check with the army to confirm what the purpose of the movement was.
"The military exercise did occur late at night on January 16, but it was a routine movement. A movement that involves a couple of units from an Army as extensive as ours must not be treated as anything abnormal," Lt Gen Kadyan said.

"It did not deserve to be blown out of proportion," he added.

Responding to the failure of the Army to inform the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of Jan 16 exercise, he said the Army might have made a procedural lapse and can now be asked to provide an explanation of the same.

Lt General Kadyan also dismissed the contention that there could be a link between the age row between General VK Singh and the government of India, and the Jan 16-17 military movement."

"It must have been simply a coincidence. The order for the movement of the units must have been given by someone who I am sure did not even know that any petition has been filed by the current Army chief."

He also rejected the rumours of a military coup in a country that has a stable political system, which makes a military takeover impossible.

"Such things occur in countries beleaguered with political unstability and widespread unrest. Such a situation does not exist in India since our system is working fine."

Lt General Kadyan added, "It is unfortunate that a report carried by what is believed to be a credible publication ended with a statement that casts aspersions on the loyalty of the army in general, and General VK Singh in particular, toward the nation."
click here for the original post

Arms Lobby: Journalists scare the corrupt

Veteran Voice
Normal military sub- unit training on highways and airfields catches the fancy eye of Shekar Gupta... he needs to be dumped as he is fed by Munition Lobbyists now under investigation....

Parl committee quizzes Def Secy, Army Vice Chief on troop movement
New Delhi, Wed Apr 04 2012, 15:53 hrs
Members of Parliament today quizzed Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma and Army Vice Chief S K Singh on 'The Indian Express' report of suspicious movement of troops near the Capital in January.

Sharma and Singh, appearing before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence, said it was normal process of testing the preparedness of the armed forces, sources said.

The two were asked to appear before the Committee to brief members on recent controversies dogging the armed forces, including the deal to procure Tatra trucks for the Army.

However, this paper's report dominated the proceedings today.

Committee Chairman Satpal Maharaj asked the Defence Secretary and the Vice Chief of the Army to appear before the Committee on April 9 with complete facts related to the issue, they said.

Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM), P J Kurien (Cong), Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi (BJP) and Ram Kirpal Yadav (RJD) raised the issue at the meeting of the Parliamentary Committee.
click here for the IE report

Comment: raj | 04-Apr-2012
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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Remembering a great soldier

Udhagamandalam, April 3, 2012 by D. Radhakrishnan of The Hindu
Defence Minister A.K. Antony signing the Visitors Book at Zoroastrian Cemetery in Ooty on Tuesday. Photo: M. Sathyamoorthy
Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw was a legend and the government will not forget his leadership and contribution to protect the sovereignity and prestige of the country, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said at the 98th birth anniversary of the Field Marshal here on Tuesday.
Army Chief General V.K. Singh joined the Defence Minister in paying floral tributes to the Field Marshal at the Parsi Zoroastrian Cemetery where he was laid to rest on June 28, 2008, but both of them steered clear of making any statement to presspersons on the controversy over the Tatra trucks.
Mum is the word
When The Hindu asked the Minister whether a joint statement could be expected, Mr. Antony only smiled and declined to respond. On whether Manekshaw would be conferred Bharat Ratna, Mr. Antony said he was not the authority to take a decision on that. In the visitors' book, Mr. Antony wrote: “I salute the respectful memory of Field Marshal Manekshaw”.
General Singh wrote: “A homage to a great soldier of the country. A great man who led the nation and its Army to a great victory. We salute the Field Marshal.”
Apart from the Defence Minister and the Army Chief, those who placed wreaths at the cemetery were Manekshaw's daughters Sherry Batliwala and Maja Daruwala, Lieutenant General Bikram Singh, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Command and Army Chief Designate, Lieutenant General S.K. Singh, Vice Chief of Army Staff and Colonel of the 8th Gorkha Rifles, which the Field Marshal was part of, Lieutenant General A.K. Singh, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Command and the Nilgiris Collector Archana Patnaik.
‘An honour for family'
Ms. Daruwala said that it was an honour for the family to be remembered in such a manner. The people who should be here were here. Many of those present recalled their association with the Field Marshal. Some of them adverted to the different ways in which he had made his presence felt in Coonoor where he had settled after retirement. They also remembered his funeral ceremony at Coonoor at which the government was represented only by the Union Minister of State for Defence, Pallam Raju.
Remembering a great soldier

Army Vice Chief, MoD officials likely to face House panel today

TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 02.11AM IST
NEW DELHI: The Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen S K Singh and senior officials of the ministry of defence (MoD) could face several hostile questions regarding the military preparedness and alleged corruption in the Tatra deal on Wednesday, when they appear before the parliamentary standing committee on defence.
Sources said Lt Gen S K Singh could be appearing before the standing panel, where the demand for grant for the military was slated to be the official agenda. However, in the wake of recent controversies kicked up by Army chief Gen V K Singh's startling disclosures, the meeting could focus on the Army's poor preparedness. Besides, discussions could centre on Gen Singh was offered a Rs 14-crore bribe by a retired Army general for clearing the purchase of "sub-standard" Tatra trucks.
The committee members are concerned about Gen Singh's claim that military preparedness was at an "alarming level", when the Army and ministry leadership has been regularly telling them that force was ready to protect the country.
In the last two years, the MPs were told that the military spending was on course, and that in 2010-11 they were able to exhaust the entire budget after several years. In 2011-12, save for Rs 3,000 crore of the Army's capital allocation, the Services spent the entire sum. The Army chief's recent letter to the PM about the poor state of affairs flies in the face of such assurances.
click here for the original report

Gen VK Singh is a thorn in the flesh of the corrupt
Among the chatterati in Delhi, it is being openly discussed that Gen Singh is a thorn-in-the-flesh of the corrupt, be it the services, the bureaucracy or politicians. Being the Army chief, he has to be party to any decision, especially those involving huge financial outlfow, but if he himself is above board, it makes life hell for those whose "livelihood" depends on corrupt practices. Poor fellas! Little wonder, therefore, the dirty tricks department has the daggers out for Gen Singh at all times.
Army chief vs govt: Another slap on you know who!

Can the CBI Decipher the Tatra Vectra Maze?

Photo: Mr. Ravi Rishi with Gen. SJS Saighal- pressing the gong at NSE Listing ceremony...

Tatra a.s. has got a new Supervisory Board after the Vectra led consortium Tatra Holding (formerly Blue River s.r.o.) acquired Terex Corporation share in Tatra a.s. in September 2006. The new supervisory board would have a member each from the shareholders that include Vectra Limited, KBC Private Equity & Sam Eyde plus 2 representatives from the labour union. Mr. Ravi Rishi, Chairman— Vectra Group has been nominated as the member & Chairman of the Tatra Supervisory Board. The first supervisory board meeting took place on December 7th 2006 at the registered office of Tatra a.s. in Koprivnice. Amongst other things discussed at the Board meeting was the Business Plan for 2007 which should see a sustained growth in sales of Tatra Trucks. After the fall of eastern markets, Tatra Koprivnice found itself on the brink of bankruptcy several times, but its financial situation has been improving since last year. With new shareholders bringing in a blend of financial and marketing strength, things are looking up yet again for the versatile mCzech Truck manufacturer.
Global Vectra Helicorp Limited (GVHL) (BSE Code 532773; NSE Code GLOBALVECT), got listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock exchange on 27th October 2006 and there has been no looking back since. This has been possible due to the strong fundamentals of the company and its performance on the business plans announced at the time of entry into the capital markets. Lt. Gen. (Retd) S.J.S. Saighal, Chairman, Global Vectra Helicorp Limited said, “We had promised our share holders that GVHL is an aggressively growing air logistics company and will bring tremendous value to their share price and we have kept that promise. GVHL is planning to increase its fleet to 29 helicopters by 2009 and we also intend tapping the deep sea air logistics market which is the next big opportunity.”
After strengthening its position in the Indian market, the company is looking at moving to other Asian countries as well. The company has been receiving proposals for contracts from shores of Sri Lanka, Malaysia and other countries around the Indian subcontinent.
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Lt. Gen. (Retd) S.J.S. Saighal
What made the MoD sit up is the fact that Lt Gen H S Sehgal, closely involved in the year-long field trials to evaluate the Eurocopter and Bell machines, is closely related to Lt Gen (retd) S J S Saighal, the chairman and managing director of Global Vectra Helicorp and Vectra Aviation which is the sole distributor of Eurocopter in India. Lt Gen Sehgal, currently posted as Chief of Staff, Army Training Command, was closely involved with the field evaluation and preparation of trial reports for the two helicopters during his tenure as Technical Manager (Land Systems) in 2004-05.
MoD probes middleman charge in $600-mn deal, seeks Eurocopter reply
Comment: Ravi Rishi, Lt Gen SJS Saighal, Lt Gen Seghal, Lt Gen Tejinder Singh alongwith IAS crooks are linked to dubious Politicians (and their sons) and are milking the Defence Forces in the name of National Security and Secrecy. CBI's onerous duty is to decode the corruption route to the Swiss Banks and unearth the beneficiaries. Home Minister P Chidambaram holds the key to unravelling the scam!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Antony to make amends, give legendary Sam his due

Author: Ashok K Mehta The Poineer 03 April, 2012
Today at a special ceremony at the Zoroastrian Parsi Cemetary at Ootacamund, Nilgiris, India’s first Field Marshal and one who bestowed on the country its first military victory in a thousand years, Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, will be commemorated by laying his gravestone next to that of his wife, Siloo.
Rectifying the grave error of not according appropriate protocol on June 27, 2008, when Field Marshal Manekshaw died at Wellington Military Hospital, this time Defence Minister AK Antony will be present. Also attending the wreath-laying ceremony are Chief of Army Staff General VK Singh; Army chief designate Lt-Gen Bikram Singh; VCOAS Lt-Gen SK Singh; president of the Gorkha Brigade and from Sam’s own 8 Gorkha Rifles, and officers of the other two services.
“This is a very private occasion but the Army has been kind to help us with the military ceremonial which my father always relished,” said Maja Daruwalla, younger daughter of Sam and Siloo. Sam’s gravestone bears the inscription: “It is a Life Well Lived” with Siloo’s reading “Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds”. The combined inscriptions encapsulate their lives — well lived and spreading goodwill.
The Government was very niggardly in recognising Sam’s unprecedented achievements: Stemming the rot in 4 Corps after the catastrophic debacle in the high Himalayas, Sam saying: “Gentlemen, there will be no more withdrawals”; deterring the Chinese in Eastern Command during the 1965 war; and comprehensively defeating the Pakistan Army in East Pakistan in 1971.
But for Mrs Indira Gandhi, Sam would not have been made a Field Marshal in 1973 as Defence Minister Jagjivan Ram and the bureaucracy had opposed it. At the time, the Army had suggested that the Field Marshal’s appointment should be equated with Bharat Ratna. But this was turned down. Mrs Gandhi promised to make him the Chief of Defence Staff, but the offer evaporated mysteriously. He was sent home unsung, officers being forbidden to see him off in the special train from Delhi to Coimbatore.
The Government’s loss was the corporate world’s gain. He was on the board of a dozen private companies like Britannia, Bombay Burma, Harrison Malyalam, Nagarjuna Fertilisers and the Oberoi Group. A charismatic personality and gift of the gab made the Field Marshal Sam Bahadur to his Gorkhas who were with him all the time that he lived and died in Coonoor.
He won his Military Cross in the Battle of Sittang in 1942 — so spectacular was his action that GoC 17 Infantry Division Maj Gen Punch Cowan, thinking his wounds were fatal, pinned his own MC on Sam’s chest. He was awarded Padma Bhushan in 1968 and after 1971, Padma Vibhushan. The Padma series of awards for the military was soon stopped on the advice of the bureaucracy.
His lectures on leadership are stuff of legend and laced with illustrations from his career and peppered with humour. My favourites are: “My trouble is, I have too much energy and I don’t know what to do with it. I keep thanking the almighty for making a man out of me and not a woman. If I’d been a woman, since I cannot say no, I would have always been in trouble. I’d either be in the maternity home or on the pill.” The other: “Whoever says he knows no fear is either lying or a Gorkha.”
Two years from now, Sam would have turned 100. The Government must make him a Bharat Ratna as no one deserves it more than he — with a life well lived.
Antony to make amends, give legendary Sam his due

Why DRDO is compelled to contradict Army chief on Tatra Truck

DRDO contradicts Army chief, says Tatra trucks 'outstanding'
PTI Mar 31, 2012, 09.40PM IST

NEW DELHI: Contradicting Army Chief General V K Singh, DRDO chief V K Saraswat on Saturday said Tatra trucks were "outstanding" and there was nothing substandard about the vehicles used as base for launching all important missiles like Prithvi and Agni. "Tatra truck is an outstanding truck... They have a very good cross country capability and can move at good speeds," Saraswat said at a press conference at Defence Expo here.
DRDO contradicts Army chief, says Tatra trucks 'outstanding'
DRDO: The True Face
S.Venugopalan (Pune) 06 Feb, 2011 11:19 AM

I feel embarrassed to say that I served in DRDO for about 25 years. It IS true that it is a fast rotting organisation, mired in total inefficiency, mysterious unaccountability, atrocious nepotism and favouritism and above all, the dangerous culture of bluffing the public about its "achievements". Huge amounts of taxpayers' money is going into the drains in the name of DRDO budget in a country where millions do not get food to eat even twice a day. All committees appointed to review the performance of DRDO after a lot of public outcry are all bogus and eyewash committees which make some cosmetic recommendations in the form of bulky reports. The Govt. must seriously think of dismantling DRDO and resort to the import of ammunitions and weapons or think of complete privatisation.
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Armchair Home Secretary encounters Mao's Ghost in North Block

Tuesday 03 April, 2012.
No ready solution to Maoist problem: Home Secy
There was no ready solution to the country's Maoist problem, Union Home Secretary R K Singh said and stressed on developing intelligence to effectively counter the threat posed by it and jehadi terrorists.
"We have a fight with the enemy (Maoists) who have faith in violence and we do not have a ready solution .... There are some people who talk about finding a solution through talks. But I think no there is nothing for holding talks," he said inaugurating Indo-Tibet Border Police Force sector headquarter in Patna on Monday.
"The Maoists want to end the country's present democratic arrangement by force. At the same time they carry out propaganda that they are fighting for the poor and the tribals, which is nothing but a pretension.... Most of those killed by the Maoists were poor people and tribals and their fight is a war of attrition," he said.
The country, he said, was also facing 'jihadi terrorism' and terrorists are sneaking into the country from Nepal.
They then try to inspire others to take to terrorism and travel from one place to another to execute the terror activities.
Exuding confidence that the people and the government would effectively thwart the twin challenges and keep the country secure, he said, "We have strengthened para-military forces and different institutions for internal security during the past few years."
The setting up of the ITBP sector headquarter in Patna was a step to creating the infrastructure for the security of the country, he said. (DD-2.4)
No ready solution to Maoist problem: Home Secy

Will Ravi Rishi be aided by MHA to escape like Ottavio Quattrocchi?

Tuesday 03 April, 2012.
Tatra controversy: CBI grills Vectra chief Ravi Rishi

CBI on Monday questioned Vectra Chairman Ravinder Rishi in connection with alleged irregularities in supply of Tatra all-terrain trucks to the Army, a day after issuing a look-out notice against him.
57-year-old British national Rishi, named as an accused in CBI's FIR in alleged irregularities in purchase of the Tatra trucks, was questioned for the second time at the CBI headquarters in New Delhi on Monday.
They said Rishi, chairman of Vectra group, was asked about ownership pattern of Tatra-Sipox UK and Vectra group and reasons for changing the payment currency from US Dollar to Euro for supplying the trucks to the Army through the BEML.
CBI has registered a case naming Rishi and unnamed officials of Defence Ministry, Army and BEML on 30th March for alleged criminal conspiracy, cheating and relevant sections of Prevention of Corruption Act.
The CBI is probing alleged irregularities in assigning of supply from Czechoslovakia-based Tatra, with which the agreement was originally signed in 1986, to the Tatra-Sipox UK owned by Rishi in 1997 showing it as Original Equipment Manufacturer and the fully-owned subsidiary of Czech company, they said.
A CBI spokesperson had said this was against the provisions of Defence Procurement Procedure for supplying the vehicles to Indian Army on the basis of the orders placed by the Ministry of Defence.
"It is further alleged that in this manner, vehicles worth thousands of crores of rupees have been supplied to the Indian Army. In continuation of the aforesaid conspiracy to cause undue benefit to the UK-based company, the unknown officials of the Defence PSU allowed change of currency from US Dollar to Euro and further by not levying the Liquidated damages, thereby causing further loss of Rs 13.27 crores," the CBI spokesperon had said. (DD-2.4)
Tatra controversy: CBI grills Vectra chief Ravi Rishi

Brajesh Mishra linked? If Ravi Rishi ‘sings’, will skeletons tumble out?
In the ultimate analysis, the buck may not stop with Ravi Rishi, and if he gives out more damning information on the deal, a whole lot of skeletons could come tumbling out. An IIT electrical engineering graduate from New Delhi, Ravi Rishi had reportedly steered the Rajiv Gandhi government in 1986 towards the Tatra’s all-weather trucks. Congress leaders are worried just how far the CBI probe could stretch; in particular, they are worried whether the CBI will inquire into how the Rajiv Gandhi government in 1986 approved of the deal. They are keen to ensure that the scope of the probe does not extend beyond the bribe allegedly offered to the Army chief.
Will Ravi Rishi Sing or Escape before skeletons tumble

Declining standards of medical treatment for Veterans

Ex-servicemen’s families in Ahmedabad share their problems
Published: Monday, Apr 2, 2012, 15:50 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

A seminar was held at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel memorial, Shahibaug, in the city on Sunday to address the issues of ex-army officials and their families. The seminar, titled 'Ex-servicemen welfare seminar' discussed issues and problems faced by families of defence personnel. National convenor of Defence cell, General NS Malik who was the chief guest at the seminar, heard and addressed the issues of several army families present at the event.
Speaking to DNA, General Malik said that protection of the nation is a burning issue presently, which needs to be handled at the earliest. "For this, every citizen is equally responsible and needs to be informed about country's defense." He further said that awareness programmes have been planned for the country's youth as part of which activities like talks, lectures will be held.
Various issues and problems of defence personnel were discussed at length during the session. Stating their problems, Mann Singh Tomar, a resident of the city, said, "My father was in army. After his death, my mother and I had to struggle a lot to receive the pension." He further complained to Malik that to start receiving pension one has to submit documents at the regiment office to which the deceased belongs. "In our case, my father belonged to Kumaon regiment and we had to go to Uttarakhand thrice for pension," added Tomar.
Tomar suggested that every state should have an office of the regiments, so that army families after transfer in different states do not have to face much problem for pensions. Malik replied that such an office is being planned in every state.
Others complained about issues of land allotment by the government and irregular medical treatment.
Ex-servicemen’s families in Ahmedabad share their problems

BEML Chairman drives Tatra Truck into muddy waters

DNA exclusive: Gen hit it right on the bonnet when he said Tatra trucks unfit
Published: Monday, Apr 2, 2012, 9:30 IST
By Gangadhar S Patil & Sandeep Pai | Place: Mumbai

Army chief General VK Singh was right. Not only are Tatra trucks substandard but they are also overpriced.
VRS Natarajan, chairman and managing director of BEML, on Friday had rubbished whatever the general had said about Tatra trucks. But documents with DNA show that BEML officials knew that Tatra Sipox (UK) had been fleecing the country over the years by supplying outdated trucks.
Ever since Gen Singh alleged on March 26 that a retired lieutenant general had offered him a bribe of Rs14 crore to “clear the tranche [purchase of 600 substandard Tatra-all-terrain vehicles]”, skeletons have been tumbling out, pitting the army against the defence ministry and BEML.
Of the several letters and notes exchanged between BEML and Tatra Sipox (UK) Ltd to finalise a new agreement on transfer of technology in 2008-09, it is clear that the UK company dictated the price at which the PSU would buy the trucks.
Each time Tatra Sipox sent the agreement to BEML for signature, mid-level officials of the PSU rejected it on several grounds. In fact, they even demanded that Tatra Sipox supply the latest versions of the trucks, which the company had not done in the past.
In 2003, Tatra Sipox had accepted that it had provided outdated models of Tatra trucks and formally agreed to provide the latest versions. When the agreement came up for renewal in 2008, however, it was back to square one.
Replying to Tatra Sipox’s draft agreement, a BEML official pointed out in December 2008: “Tatra Sipox (UK) Ltd have cunningly once again omitted references to the previous understandings/agreements.”
The UK company, in fact, chose to keep the terms of the agreement vague so that it could continue supplying outdated versions of the truck. The draft had no specifics of the trucks to be supplied. The agreement proposed by Tatra Sipox is “one-sided and does not cover” BEML’s interests, one letter from the PSU stated.
In the draft, Tatra Sipox kept its option of supplying trucks compliant with Euro I or II or III standards open. That meant it could also supply trucks compliant with Euro I norms. BEML officials, however, insisted on engines compliant with Euro III and IV standards. It noted that the “purchase of Euro II engines would not be viable because Euro IV emission standards are in vogue across the world” and automobile companies were moving towards Euro V standards.
A former BEML employee told DNA that “Tatra Sipox wanted to keep the agreement vague so that they could keep supplying Euro II engines”. It also meant that the company could charge extra for upgrading the engines.
The matter did not end with old models; Tatra Sipox kept increasing the price according to its convenience. A November 25, 2008, letter from a BEML official commented on the agreement: “Tatra Sipox (UK) Ltd is well known for its unjustified demand for increase in prices”. It went on to list a few examples. “Of late, the UK company has been insisting on steep increase in prices of completely knocked down (CKD) kits and spare parts.” Tatra Sipox had drafted a clause that would provide it with room for “demanding additional money”, the letter said. “[This] need not be agreed to. We must be satisfied with the adequacy of technical support and there need not be any room for negotiating further course of action.”
Clik here for the explosive report

Monday, April 2, 2012

The hollow Army

The hollow Army
March 31, 2012 By Mrinal Suman
As skeletons begin to tumble out of the closet of the Indian Army, the world’s second largest standing army, and the defence establishment now face the gravest crisis in their history — a crisis of credibility, and of national security preparedness. Will this shadowy war of leaks and allegations finally help unravel one of New Delhi’s most powerful cliques — that of shady arms dealers and agents? Or, will UPA’s Mr Clean A.K. Antony end up as the fall guy?

When the Army Chief writes to the Prime Minister that he has no ammunition for his tanks, that the country’s air defence network is nearly totally degraded and calls for urgent action to take correctives, it’s a grave national security situation indeed.

Yet, the debate that has taken hold is not about that grave situation, but whether the Army Chief violated protocol by writing to the PM, that he should be sacked for leaking – without evidence that he did – that letter to the media, and the like.

By itself, such a debate explains why, over the past two decades, we have come to such a pass. A matter that affects the war-potential of the army has been trifled with by an unseemly blame-game about its leakage.

A service chief is duty-bound to keep the political leadership informed of the state of preparedness of his force at all times. Writing a letter to the Prime Minister under intimation to the defence minister does not breach protocol in any way, and it has been done by service chiefs in the past.

The Indian Army’s problem, in a nutshell, is this: All militaries in the world seek the best equipment they can afford. But even the richest countries cannot afford to have an inventory full of the latest and best. Rather, militaries seek to maintain a well-balanced equipment profile at all times. Perhaps, a mix of 30 per cent modern, 40 per cent matured and 30 per cent obsolescent equipment.

Disconcertingly, in our case, as much as 85 per cent of the equipment with the Indian military today is decades-old and need to be replaced/upgraded. Yet, due to a number of impediments — including corruption in military procurement and attempts to curb it by blacklisting arms manufacturers — the pace of modernisation has been lagging by more than 10 years.
Read more: The Hollow Army: Click here

The Big Fight: Is our defence well prepared?

The Big Fight: After the Army Chief's letter to the Prime Minister was leaked earlier this week, causing a major controversy, we on The Big Fight discuss whether we are letting our soldiers down and whether there is a shortage of equipment?
Uploaded by ndtv on Apr 1, 2012

Former Defence Minister exposes Munition Dealers

Full Transcript: Your Call with former Defence Minister Jaswant Singh, 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.
Read more at: Click here for the complete transcript
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!

Why former NSA, Brajesh wants Army Chief to go on Leave

Reference: Gen VK Singh must be sent on forced leave: Brajesh Mishra
Why Brajesh Mishra is Saddled with a Padma Vibhushan (Awardee-2011)
Firangi Memsahib Sonia Gandhi, easily one of the most corrupt women in world history, directed Dr Manmohan Singh to confer upon Brajesh Mishra the Award of Padma Vibhushan for his exemplary services to the scandal and scam-driven Sonia Gandhi Clan. The stern grim and scorching truth underlying the Padma Vibhushan Award given to Brajesh Mishra has been thoroughly exposed by Dr Subramanian Swamy in his historic Statement on 14 February 2011. During the last 3 years, Dr Subramanian Swamy, President of the Janata Party and former Union Law and Commerce Minister has shown again and again that a small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable and lofty faith in their mission can alter the course of history. I am presenting below the full text of his Statement made on 14 February 2011:
The arrest of Pakistani singer Rahat Ali Khan by the Enforcement Directorate and Delhi Police for possessing over US $ 120,000 dollars in undeclared and undisclosed cash should remind the UPA leaders of the arrest on June 2, 2001 in Boston Airport of the son of Ms. Sonia Gandhi, viz., Mr. Rahul Gandhi by the US Federal Police, the FBI, for possessing US $ 160,000 in cash undeclared and undisclosed. In Rahul's case, the Vajpayee Government went to bat for him, and after 9 hours the FBI on direction from US government released him after getting an undertaking. THE PRINCIPAL OPERATOR WHO WORKED FOR HIS RELEASE WAS MR. BRAJESH MISHRA, THE PRINCIPAL SECRETARY TO THE THEN PM VAJPAYEE. He has now been recognized for his service to the Nehru dynasty and awarded the Padma Vibhushan. Hence, it is difficult for the Congress led Government to decline the Pakistan government's vociferous demand to give similar amnesty to Rahat Ali Khan. I demand that the Prime Minister Dr. Man Mohan Singh instead to tell Pakistan to mind their business, and direct prosecution of Mr. Rahat for the crime. I also demand that Brijesh Mishra apologise publicly for his unholy intervention on behalf of Rahul Gandhi. Otherwise the Padma Vibhushan awarded to him must be revoked.
Rahul Gandhi and his girlfriend were detained by the FBI at Boston Ariport on June 2 2001 because Rahul Gandhi was found to be in illegal possession of unaccounted money to the tune of USD 160,000! This huge dollar amount generated suspicion with the US authorities. Rahul and his girl friend were thus detained by FBI. FBI suspected that Rahul was carrying terrorist funds or drug money for laundering in US.
click here for the complete statement
(Dr Subramanian Swamy)
Related Reading
Brijesh Mishra a CIA agent?
Dinesh (Mumbai) comments... 7 hrs ago (10:26 PM)
Who the F**k is Brijesh Mishra to comment on the army chief? We dont want any certificate from Brijesh Mshra nor any good for nothing armchair retired ex government people. If today Pakistan or China attacks us today or even right now, the same Brijesh Mishra will hide in a dark rathole and pray to the Army Chief, that at least he, his wife, children and grandchildren be protected, and let rest of Indian citizens go to hell, let them die. This is the mentality of these useless old armchair guys. TOI should be careful not to give these timepass people undue publicity. Disgusting.
Read more interesting Comments
Veteran voice
Former BJP national security advisor Brajesh Mishra wants Gen VK Singh out becoz he fears skeletons may tumble out from his own old closet... surely Brijesh as NSA was in close link with all Munition Wheeler Dealers... Can the CBI link him to the Tatra Vectra Scam...? Obviously he wants the Army Chief to go to cover his own face and save his reward- Padma ViBhusan- which he rightly does not deserve!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Army Chief and the Arms Lobby

An Outlook Cover Story
Officer, Gentleman And The Army Mess
One too honest to back off, the other honest to a fault. And the army suffers.

10 Unanswered Questions In V.K. Singh Affair
1. Have Gen V.K. Singh and defence minister A.K. Antony squandered their Mr Clean image through their recent actions and inactions?
2. Is somebody out to get Gen V.K. Singh? Could the powerful arms lobby and their agents and middlemen be behind leaks and plants?
3. Would Gen Singh have revealed the Rs 14 crore bribe had his version of DoB been accepted?
4. Was V.K. Singh’s letter to the PM leaked to protect A.K. Antony, who was on the mat? Or to deflect attention from the offer of bribe?
5. Does the flurry of charges have something to do with PM’s absence, the BRICS summit and defence expo in Delhi?
6. Are defence dealers who lost out on the £11.6 billion Rafale deal at work?
7. Could Gen Singh’s predecessors— Deepak Kapoor and J.J. Singh— get embroiled in the crosshairs?
8. What impact will V.K. Singh’s campaign have on successors Bikram Singh and Daljit Singh?
9. Could the V.K. Singh saga end up exposing top politicians across parties mired in arms deals, a la Bofors?
10. Will the armed forces retain the same glint in the eye of civilians henceforth? How does all this affect army rank and file?
Officer, Gentleman And The Army Mess: click here for the full cover story

Dubious Track Record of Ravi Rishi of Tatra Vectra Fame

Army Chief controversy: Vectra’s Ravi Rishi left India in 1983

Ravi Rishi, promoter of the Vectra Group, which is under the scanner in relation with the V.K. Singh controversy, left India over a quarter-century back, after the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence registered a case against his company, Rishi Electronics, in 1983 under the draconian Cofeposa law.
Army Chief Gen. V.K. Singh had disclosed that a huge bribe was offered to him for clearing the purchase of 'substandard' vehicles from the Vectra Group.
Mr Rishi, who later acquired British citizenship, set up businesses in several countries. He is alleged to have got a lot of help from a 1979 batch IFS officer with over three dozen vigilance cases against him.
After the Soviet collapse and Czechoslovakia’s breakup, Mr Rishi’s Vectra Group acquired a majority stake in Tatra, based in the Czech Republic, which has operations in India and Eastern Europe.
A COFEPOSA case against Mr Rishi's previous company was closed since it became time-barred after 10 years. In the meanwhile, Mr Rishi also got roped into a customs case in 2008, when his company Global Vectra Helicorp Private Limited, along with a few top industrialists, got entangled in the customs net on the charge of evading duties by misrepresenting facts during the import of helicopters and luxury jets.
On the Vectra-Defence link, the Vectra Group had earlier told this newspaper that Tatra a.s. is based in the Czech Republic and has no relation with the Indian ministry of defence.
However, on inquiry it was revealed that Vectra Group was the largest shareholder of the consortium Tatra Holding s.r.o. that owned Tatra a.s. The Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) has been making trucks for defence and other purposes under licence from Tatra. Hence technically it is BEML that has been directly linked with MoD but Vectra stood to gain from each truck supplied to the Army by BEML.
The Vecta Group was in the news earlier when due to certain discrepancies in the evaluation process, the ministry of defence had scrapped an ambitious Indian Army tender for light observation helicopters.
One of the frontrunners in the race was Eurocopter, along with Bell. Global Vectra Helicorp, one of the Vectra Group companies, was the agent for Eurocopters in India. These companies had scored over Augusta of Italy and the Russian Kamov and Kazan.
In December 2007, the lid was off from the 'dubious' evaluation process when contrary to the MoD claim that Eurocopter had engaged someone for liasoning.
Inquiries also revealed that Vectra Group had acquired maximum shares in India Exposition Mart Ltd (IEML) established for improving the "potential of exporting Indian Handicrafts".
This facility is Located in Greater Noida, close to New Delhi. This acquisition by Vectra Group is also said to be linked to the Vectra Group promoter Ravi Rishi’s close association with the suspended IAS couple Arvind Joshi and his wife Tinoo Joshi.
Ms. Joshi, who was Deputy Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office between 1988 and 1990, was later posted as Development Commissioner Handicrafts, Ministry of Textiles, Government of India (2004-07) and member secretary of All India Handicrafts Board. The Board’s mandate was to advise the Government on the formulation of the overall development programmes in handicrafts sector.
She was also Secretary General Federation of Indian Export Organisations. It is the apex Export Promotion Body set up by the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India.
Vectra’s Ravi Rishi left India in 1983
IAS Crooks: Couple Tinoo Joshi and Arvind Joshi linked to Ravi Rishi
MP: Suspended IAS couple asked to pay over Rs 45 cr tax
Comments: Sounds like the repeat of Bofors Scam never unearthed- kingpin Italian Quattrocchi equated to Ravi Rishi in the new Indian avatar!

Tatra Vectra Middle Man and UK Scamster Quizzed by CBI

Tatra Truck Deal: CBI seizes 'culprit' Ravi Rishi's passport Sunday, April 1, 2012, 11:40 [IST] A One India Report...

Delhi, Apr 1: The investigative agency Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seized passport of Rav i Rishi, the main accused of the controversial Tatra Truck Deal with Indian Army. The CBI on Sunday, Apr 1 issued restraint order to prevent the NRI businessman from leaving the country.
The investigative agency earlier on Friday interrogated Ravi Rishi and sources informed that they are all set to grill the NRI businessman once again on Monday over the same bribery scam involving Indian Army chief, VK Singh.
The CBI claimed that it needs more proof and specific details before it can register a case and that it wants specific details from the General regarding the case.
CBI conducted massive search in Ravi Rishi's premises and several other places over the same bribery scam in which the army chief claimed that he was offered Rs 14 crore bribe for Tatra truck deal. London-based Ravi Rishi owns Vectra Group and holds a major stake in Tatra.
click her for the original post
Army Scales Down Tatra- A BEML Cash Cow and a Money Spinner
India signed an agreement with Czechoslovakia- based company Omni Pol in 1986 for production of Tatra trucks at BEML. After the agreement expired in 1996, a second pact was inked with UK-based Tatra-Sipox for producing similar vehicles at BEML.
click here to read more

Hand over to Defence: Court Advises Adarsh Members

Congress, NCP leaders have benami Adarsh
♦ Following HC rap, CBI produces accused IAS officers, retired senior armymen in court on Thursday; will probe proxy owners in the building

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is probing the Adarsh scam, is now unearthing benami transactions connected with the controversy-hit south Mumbai building. Sources in the CBI said there are three state politicians who are having benami flats in Adarsh — two from the Nationalist Congress Party and one from the Congress.
About a fortnight ago, CBI sleuths conducted a site visit to the controversial Adarsh Society at Cuffe Parade and also found how walls of these benami flats were broken to amalgamate them.
The payment for the flat of one of these politicians — a Congressman — was made through his son by cheque. Another politician, an NCP leader from Vidarbha, was seen attending a family function of the Adarsh promoter.
Sources in the DF government said that Maj Gen T Kaul, an accused in the scam, has already confessed to the NCP politician holding a benami flat in Adarsh.
Meanwhile, as per the directions of the Bombay High Court, a committee has been formed by the CBI, Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax to look into the benami flats jointly.
Meanwhile, the court advised the the members of Adarsh society to realise their mistake and surrender the controversial building to the Ministry of Defence, saying ‘the security of the nation is of utmost importance'.
Congress, NCP leaders have benami Adarsh
CBI investigating Pawar Pune clan
CBI to quiz Southern Command officials in Adarsh case
“Custodial interrogation [of Major General (retired) T K Kaul] revealed that some senior officials of Southern Command, Pune, while giving the reply to Parliament Question about the status of the said land were appraised and still they sent false reply that the land has never been/ was under the occupation of the Army with malafide intention. Subsequently, the officers in the chain became members of the society,” the investigating agency said in its remand application
CBI to quiz Southern Command officials in Adarsh case


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