NEW DELHI – Indian Ministry of Defence on Monday (5 March 2012) blacklisted six armament firms for 10 years for their alleged role in a 2009 weapons bribery scandal, the ministry statement said.
The firms mentioned by the defence ministry included Singapore Technologies (ST) Kinetics Ltd, Switzerland’s Rheinmetall Air Defence, Israeli Military Industries Ltd and Russia’s Corporation Defence (CDR), the statement said.
The firms were recommended for blacklisting by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on the basis of evidence collected against them and notice to cause why no action should be taken against them. The recommendation to blacklist by CBI was made after considering their reply, the statement said.
The two other companies blacklisted were both Indian firms – RK Machine Tools Ltd and TS Kisan and Co Private Ltd, the statement faxed to AFP said.
No comment was immediately available from the companies named in the statement.
India froze deals worth US$1.5 billion in 2009 with seven companies after police arrested a top defence ministry official on charges of bribery.
The ban prevents ST Kinetics from closing billion-dollar contracts to supply ultra-light and towed howitzers to the Indian Army. Singapore’s Pegasus ultra-light howitzer was widely regarded as the winner for ST Kinetics until the corruption scandal broke. The Pegasus is a lightweight 155mm 39-calibre howitzer with self-propelled capabilities. It can also be transported by aircraft. The Straits Times of Singapore said India was planning to buy 145 pieces of 155mm ultra-light howitzers, as well as shopping for another 400 pieces of towed 52-calibre guns, with another 1,180 pieces to be assembled in India under licence.
India is one of the world’s biggest military spenders, purchasing weapons to modernize its million-plus world’s fourth-largest army.