A special CBI court has accepted the closure report filed by the agency in a 1998 case of alleged irregularities in the procurement of Terminally Guided Munitions (TGM) worth over Rs 150 crore that were to be used in the Kargil conflict. The court stated that “pointing fingers on the defence deal” demoralises the forces and “brings in lethargy at the bureaucratic level” regarding the procurement.
The CBI had earlier alleged that Major (retd) S J Singh and defence middleman M S Sahni, through a criminal conspiracy with unidentified officials of defence ministry and Army Headquarters and Russia-based K B P Design Bureau, had induced the ministry to purchase 1,000 TGMs (Krasnopol) and 10 laser designators worth Rs 151 crore. The TGM was identified as an urgent requirement to be used with Bofors units.
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“Every life of a soldier is precious to the nation… The defence forces must have an edge over its opponent in terms of the equipment, weapons and other necessary logistics. There must not be any delay in any procurement, as the delay may not only result in our forces losing advantage… but also tends to bring in frustration in the forces,” Special judge Gurdeep Singh observed.
“Questions may be asked, but unless the gross violation and irregularity is found, the decision making authority should not be looked at with suspicion,” he said while accepting the closure report.
The court also observed that “with regard to role of middleman in financial transaction, no evidence was found”…in the accounts of firms known to Sahni.
On CBI’s earlier allegation that Krasnopol was not tested against moving target, the court said the Army Headquarters had confirmed that such facilities still do not exist in India.
The CBI had earlier alleged that contrary to the laid down procedure, the Price Negotiation Committee was formed before the approval of Cabinet Committee on Security and before acceptance of trial evaluation report.