Saturday, February 25, 2012

Corruption Cloud Over Indian VVIP Copter Deal, Probe Ordered

Sorry about this late post -- was out all day yesterday. The MoD has ordered an inquiry into allegations that emerged last year in the Italian press (and then yesterday in The Indian Express) that Finmeccanica used corrupt practices to win a $700-million deal signed in Feb 2010 to supply 12 AgustaWestland AW 101 helicopters (image in IAF livery) for VVIP transport to the Indian Air Force.

In 2008, MAIL TODAY broke a story about how India's apex Cabinet Committee on Security had cleared the deal despite deviations in tender parameters. The Finance Ministry too reportedly objected to the deal, but was prevailed upon to approve it in the end. Days after the deal was signed, Sikorsky executives told me they would protest the decision, but only ended up writing a letter to the MoD asking for details of why the S-92 was rejected.

While only investigations will establish if kickbacks were paid and if so, to whom, my limited point for the moment is that the efficiency and alacrity with which the government pushed through the VVIP helicopter purchase was unusual -- the sort of thing totally lacking in the purchase of anything for the armed forces. The AW 101s, the first of which are set to arrive later this year, will be operated by the IAF's Delhi-based Communication Squadron, and used for the executive transport of the President, Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers and visiting VVIPs.

35 comments:

Ayan said...

For once I am happy that a deal is getting delayed. After all these copters are meant for the corrupt only...

Anonymous said...

And who believes that Rafale deal is above huge corruption? It's even a bigger scam

Mr. Ra said...

As these copters are to be used for the executive transport of the very very higher ups, so it is highly unlikely that anybody can make any compromise on the quality and capability aspects. Other aspects can only be ascertained by other methods.

Hrishikesh said...

Does it surprise anyone! People will still vote for them and then cry over their fate and the scandals all around.

Anonymous said...

There had to be something going on in the back for a deal to get through this quickly. I hope for a re-bid, and keep repeating this until babus have to walk to their destinations.

Now that I think of it, may be we can eliminate all security for them. This alone may cure them of any corrupt behavior that they may have. After all, babus wouldn't want the public to be mad so in the interest of their own safety they will start doing the right thing and begin representing the people who elected them in the first place. This would save the security money for country, people will be happy, government would become efficient and as a result babus will remain safe. Babus wear Dhoti and Lungi to make them count as a common man and a Ghandhian, right. Well, then they should stop using expensive cars and helicopters for their travel, why don't they travel like the common man they represent?

Anonymous said...

well, ain't karma a bitch !! I would love to see this deal hosed in good measure.
Contrast the efficiency with that of the Pilatus basic trainer deal where babus are dragging their feet since eternity jeopardizing the lives of fresh pilot recruits.
Better still let the choppers come and go down with a big political big wig, even better. That would be some good riddance of the scum called Indian politician.

Anonymous said...

"India's apex Cabinet Committee on Security had cleared the deal despite deviations in tender parameters"... What were the parameters... that were... bypassed...

sents said...

To avoid such things, they should make the MMRCA process as a framework, for all the future purchases.

Anonymous said...

Mera Bharat Mahan!!!

Anonymous said...

@911 PM
you are the equivalent of the village idiot..
how many 'babus' are provided security???security is provided to the leaders elected by the people for the people are too stupid...if a cm or a pm is executed who do you think will riot??the same complaining common man..not some govt servant!!

Anonymous said...

I think India as a society is corrupt. Blaming Babis is one thing but in Bernard Shaw's word in democracy, government is a reflection of people they serve. So many Indians involve themselves in corrupt practices everyday. So many Indians get caught in US for frauds. Corruption is endemic on Indian psych

Anonymous said...

Finmeccanica is an Italian conglomerate. AgustaWetland is a 100%-owned Italian subsidiary of Finmeccanica. The operative word in both above sentences is ITALIAN.

It is now perfectly understandable that our government just went ahead and bought this thing in a flash without any proper evaluation process. Man, Quattrochi must love the insanely profitable wheeling-and-dealing-for-the-Indian-military part of his business, at least as long as his cousin is the supreme leader of this country.

Why is everybody so surprised?

Anonymous said...

From the Indian Express story: "Augusta Westland is one of Finmeccanica’s most profitable subsidiaries. Another subsidiary, Selex Sistemi Integrati, which is also under investigation, recently won a 10 million-euro contract to supply radars and other equipment for India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier under construction in Kochi."

So, corrupt ITALIAN companies are being corruptly handed down Indian military contracts one after another, through corrupt processes that involve little or inadequate evaluation. This ITALIAN hegemony over India is taking on disturbing proportions now, something must be done!

Anonymous said...

Let's not get carried away with politician bashing. There are certainly grounds for suspicion but let's not confuse that with the need for these products.

The issue is not whether you like Indian politicians. The issue is whether as a nation-state we believe that our leaders should be able to travel securely to do their jobs.

Anonymous said...

We Indians have come to equate Italian with Corrupt...but by that measure India should be equated with dirt...but i suppose that is racism

Anonymous said...

"The issue is not whether you like Indian politicians. The issue is whether as a nation-state we believe that our leaders should be able to travel securely to do their jobs."

What about the aam jawan or the joe bloe pilot recruit ? Does he not deserve the best equipment when he has the most important job of protecting the country's frontiers ? Why drag your feet in those deals ? I guess because the MOD babus and the various politician's sons & daughters are safely studying or working in U.S or Europe. They don't give a shit what the aam jawan gets. But when it comes down to the politician's safe transport nothing but the most expensive has to be selected never mind the procurement rules. Mera Bharat is better off without the scum of politicians.

Anonymous said...

India is not a small country nor I belive it cannot make it own arrangement.Throughout these years, the capabilities has been destroyed to favor imports and kick backs. Indian army is importing gun!!!What does that mean? This country do not have the ability to make guns!!!

These politicians have in destroying the capabilities of india's scientific communities and are traitors. They do not deserver high security.

If you want hi-fi gadgets, then build it for youself.

Anonymous said...

@annon 3.55 Pm
you mean to say protect the pseudo scientist and preservationists of DRDO !

DRDO is but an extension of the corrupt Indian system.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 9:30PM, that's not how I interpret the comments left at 3:55PM. He didn't say anything about DRDO, R&D does not have to be controlled by GOI, private companies can do it too. Only thing that has to happend is GOI needs to get it's behind out of things that it cannot manage. I am not criticizing LCA, ALH, etc. etc. DRDO has done a lot, but I think it could have done a lot more if it were managed privately and had healthy competition that would force it to do better and faster and cheaper.

Anonymous said...

@623
then why isnt the pvt sector doing that..what is stopping them from building ..say an aircraft engine..if they build a good one even if the corrupt indian govt doesn't order it it will get export orders from the fair world!!!
the reason is pretty damn simple...unless you commit to buy it from them..its too much of an investment!!!
pvt companies in india dont invest as much in r&d (as companies outside india) even in sectors like automobiles or even as much as a pen!!...

Anonymous said...

Is Maino involved?

Anonymous said...

Instead of buying these expensive aw101 choppers India should buy additional 12 Mi17 choppers, which can be modified for vvip transport purposes.

Anonymous said...

11:53AM

Who is stopping them? The GOI is creating road blocks. Private sector cannot compete with the govt. They need to make money to be profitable. GOI does not need to make a single penny, and can operate in loss for decades if necessary, examples: Air India, Indian Airlines, Indian Railways, Indian Oil, etc. etc. Some of them have been making money recently, but if you look at their records for last few decades, you will know that no private company can survive the way they have over the decades. Why? Because GOI pays for it through the tax-payer's money. Private companies do not have that luxory. They must be innovative and efficient to be competative. As such they performe better than their private counter-parts. If the GOI removes the road-blocks and encourages competition, while privatizing all the current GOI organizations (or GOI funded) like DRDO and HAL, you will begin seeing Private companies wanting to invest more. Some of the shipyards are being offered ship building contracts, but if you look at what is being offerd, it still does not compare to what's being offered to GOI funded shipyeards. For airline companies, they are asked to fly for 5 years on the domestic sector before getting the permit to fly any international routes? But, a brand new foreign airline may fly to India without any such requirement. Also, air india can operate on loss and keep the prices down, the private companies cannot do that for long. This is why I say, competiting with the GOVT is not winnable. If you want better cost, and better product, create private competitiion. GOVT by it's nature is wasteful and inefficient. Again not criticizing the achievement of DRDO and NAL, they have done good for the country, but I still thing they could be better if they were under some of other private companies instead of the GOVT.

lspk said...

shiv watch this you wont regret it
www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnlPgo9TaGo

Anonymous said...

@846
[AI/IC...they were decent operations before they were merged with AI making profits and IC profitable on most routes and then saddled with an aircraft order that was about 60% more than what they wanted!!! of course the media wont play that part up!!]

even in sectors where the govt doesnt have a presence you dont seen any R&D investment by pvt firms....our pvt companies have some core competencies like manufacturing...R&D is not one of them and thats why the argument is rarely open up defence R&D sector (Again..unless what that implies is promise to buy from us..what does it mean)..its to privatise existing firms....they dont want to go through the same painful talent build up stage....

the global ship building business is a huge one..why do they need the GoI orders if they are so damn good

people will talk of US govt giving contracts to boeing and lockheed but they do that without realizing that these two firms get it not to develop expertise but because they already have it.

you are spewing ideology which while is fine for another debate...

lspk said...

shiv did u watch the video ?

Gautam said...

The complete morons who aspire to a career of polishing government babu boots don't realise that private giants like Boeing, Airbus etc only developed their expertise in the first place BECAUSE THEIR GOVERNMENTS SUPPORTED THEM.

See projects like the Eurofighter and the Airbus A400M. One of the reasons keeping them funded is so important to the governments is to retain an advanced domestic aircraft-building and development capability.

There is no question of private sector not developing new innovations if the government fund them, because if they succeed there is big profit in it for them. If they fail the govt can just cut the funding or fine them, unlike the almightly DRDO, Defence PSUs, Ordinace Factories etc which enjoy assured funding and orders and don't have to worry about deadlines or punishment for failure and delays.

Gautam said...

You boot polishers are the one spewing idealogy. You raise your children for a career of becoming shoeshine boys outside government buildings(Some may even get promoted to peons and get the honor of entering the building and serving chai to the divine babus) and close your mind to sheer common sense.

Unlike almost every other industry in India(where private companies kick the asses of your beloved PSUs) in defence the government is the sole customer, so unless the government supports the private sector through contracts and R&D sanctioned funding they cannot develop new products on their own as they would have no market for it.

Selling abroad is not an option as the international arms market is oversaturated and there are no guarantees of getting customers to recoup funds spent on R&D. Look at countries with developing private defence industries like Singapore, Turkey and South Korea. Only recently have they been able to break into the international market, till now they have only developed their expertise through products developed for and funded by their domestic armed forces.

Anonymous said...

"GOVT by it's nature is wasteful and inefficient" is ideology!!!Calling anyone who questions your ideology a moron is the classic signs of ideology!!

you can keep insulting others by using tough names but i am not coming down to that level

Boeing-the company that went on to become Boeing..they made aircraft and then demonstrated it for US armed forces..and then they liked it ..so ordered it!!

Airbus..it was not formed from scratch..it was a lot of smaller companies each respectable in their own area ....

they came with good products ..and govts bought them..not the other way around as the indian private sector would want one to believe!!!

forget selling arms abroad..in which sector do we export significant international technology??..(except IT and generic drugs)....and you want to look at cost -benefit ratios..lets see...just look @ how much our auto majors put down to develop new models of existing cars..(i am not saying its not worthwhile...they easily make back that money!!)

biggest leaps in technology often requites a govt to spend massively and through its own machinery....mankinds greatest achievements in technology ..the moon landing ..the atomic bomb (ok..not mankind's proudest display of technology)..

Gautam said...

Moserbaer is one of the world's largest producers of optical media. Bharat Forge is one of the world's largest producer of forged goods. Both Tata and Mahindra Motors export tractors and commercial vehicles to over a dozen countries each.

You boot polishers are the one I should be asking this question: WHAT TECHNOLOGY HAVE OUR ALMIGHTLY DIVINE PSUs EXPORTED?

Meanwhile keep ignoring common sense and examples from other countries all around you, you need to focus on getting those babu boots clean after all, otherwise no tip.

Meanwhile private baniyas in Turkey, South Korea, Brazil, Singapore etc will keep developing cutting-edge products with government support and increasingly rise to compete with established American and European players. And some of these baniya products will even end up exported to India!

Anonymous said...

Largest & leading in technology..big difference!!..see if you can figure that out before you start trumpeting random facts!! you could have well mentioned IT sector too..

Gautam said...

Shh. The babu will get angry and kick you in the face. Resume your shoe polishing. That is your main livelihood after all...

Anonymous said...

bleh

Gautam said...

What, did he make you lick them clean? Yes, that must really be bleh.

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