From Jeep scandal to AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam, MyNation takes a look at the alleged scams under the UPA and Congress era
New Delhi: The Congress may be trying to create a scam around the procurement of 36 Rafale aircraft by the Narendra Modi government in 2016. However, if one looks at the over 60-year rule by the Congress, it emerges that history is full of these scams in the defence sector - starting from the Jeep scam in 1948 under Jawaharlal Nehru as the Prime Minister. MyNation takes a look at the alleged scams under the UPA and Congress era.
The jeep scandal in 1948 was the first major corruption case in independent India. The then Indian high commissioner to Britain, VK Krishna Menon, ignored protocol to sign a Rs 80 lakh contract for the purchase of 200 army jeeps with a foreign firm. While the entire amount was paid up front, only 155 jeeps allegedly were provided to the forces. An inquiry committee was also formed but shut down midway. Later on, Menon was appointed as the defence minister in the Nehru government.
The process to acquire four submarines had started during the Morarji Desai government, in which a Swedish company was the lowest bidder and even shortlisted by the Navy for its requirements. However, after the Indira Gandhi government came to power, the specifications were allegedly manipulated by the officials to declare a West German firm as the winner in the deal, with communication from there suggesting that 7% commission was paid to bag the contract.
Said to be the biggest defence scam in the country in terms of casualties, it triggered the downfall of Rajiv Gandhi as a politician. For acquiring 410 Bofors guns from Sweden, it was alleged that over Rs 65 crore was paid as kickbacks by the company to bag the deal. The scam was unearthed during the tenure of VP Singh as defence minister under Rajiv Gandhi and resulted in his ouster later on.
Tatra trucks scam
This alleged scam took place in 2010 under the UPA government. The then Army Chief Gen VK Singh is credited for unearthing the issue as it was found that a public sector company, along with a few foreign vendors, were charging two to three times the original price of the trucks. It was also alleged that a retired Lt Gen tried to offer a bribe to Gen VK Singh for buying a tranche of 614 trucks for the Army.
Adarsh Housing Society scam
Another big scam that came out during the UPA era was the flats that were supposed to be allotted to the families of Kargil war martyrs were taken away by politicians, bureaucrats, senior Army officers; and the land was just outside the military base in Mumbai. The Army raised its objections over the misuse of this land by the politician-bureaucracy-military officers' lobby and a number of senior politicians including the then Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan had to resign.
Navy spy plane scam
The alleged scam which took place in 2008-09 was unveiled only this year after it emerged in a CAG report that the commercial quotes of a European firm were manipulated to declare American firm Boeing as the lowest bidder. The European firm's price was almost Rs 1,000 crore lower than the Boeing price but the American company was awarded the contract for over $2.1 billion contracts for eight spy planes for the Navy.
The alleged scam in the procurement of 12 VVIP helicopters for the Air Force came into light after a middleman was allegedly arrested in Italy by the prosecutors there. It was said that competitors of the Italian firm AgustaWestland were chucked out of the tender process to ensure that they bag the Rs 3,600 crore contract. It also came out that Rs 360 crore were paid to different agents to swing the deal to the Italians. The main alleged middleman Christen Michel is in UAE at the moment and is likely to be brought to India anytime soon.
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Last Updated Oct 17, 2018, 12:39 PM IST