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Thursday, 9 August 2012

From Today's Papers - 09 Aug 2012
Bogus Chinese parts in defence equipment?
Tribune News Service

— AK Antony, Defence Minister New Delhi, August 8
Worried over the reports of bogus Chinese parts having been used in US military equipment, India is now verifying if any such Chinese parts were installed on multi-billion dollar equipment it has purchased from the US in the past few years.

This comes just months after a US Senate investigation found 1,800 incidents of bogus parts in the US Department of Defence supply chain in 2009 and 2010.

The year-long probe by the Senate Armed Services Committee found counterfeit electronic parts from China in the Air Force's C-130J cargo plane, in the assemblies for special operations helicopters and in the Navy's Poseidon surveillance plane, the US Senate panel had said in its report released in May this year.

India has purchased six C-130J aircraft from the US manufacturer Lockheed Martin. The planes have joined the IAF fleet and are based at Hindon near Delhi. Also, New Delhi is contracted to purchase Poseidon (named P8I) surveillance plane from Boeing.

“The government is verifying reports claiming that a large number of faulty Chinese spare parts have been used in the defence equipment sold by the US,” Defence Minister A K Antony replied in Rajya Sabha today.

The minister said this in reply to a question raised by Motilal Vora of the Congress asking whether the government was aware that a large number of faulty Chinese spare parts have been used in the defence equipment that were being sold by the US.

Antony tabled a list of defence equipment purchased from the USA during the last five years. The list included Indian Naval Ship Jalashwa, UH-3H helicopters, Harpoon missiles, Long Range Acoustic Devices, modern hull penetrating periscopes, side scan sonar, C I30J aircraft, sensor fused weapons, C-17 Globemaster-III, P-8I maritime reconnaissance aircraft, Quick Reaction Team (QRT) boats, etc.

Replying to a question on the acquisition of 126 fighter aircraft for the Indian Air Force, Antony said, "The proposal for procurement of the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) is currently at the stage of commercial discussions." The proposal will be considered further after the Contract Negotiations Committee (CNC) concludes its deliberations and submits its report, he added.
Fresh case against arms dealer Abhishek Verma
Syed Ali Ahmed/TNS

Abhishek Verma New Delhi, August 8
Acting on a complaint made by Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken, CBI today registered a fresh case against arms dealer Abhishek Verma on charges of allegedly writing a letter to the Prime Minister on a forged letterhead of Ajay Maken seeking easing of business visa norms in 2009.

In 2009, Ajay Maken was Union Minister of State for Home Affairs.

The CBI said it registered a case against the arms dealer under Section 8 of Prevention of Corruption Act, Section 65 A (b and c) of Information Technology Act and under Section 469 of the IPC which relates to forgery for purpose of harming reputation.

The agency also slapped charges of violation of Information Technology Act and Prevention of Corruption Act in the fresh case, the CBI said.

Verma and his wife were arrested on June 8. They are in judicial custody. After his arrest, a few other people were questioned, but their names were not disclosed by the CBI, sources said.

Verma has moved for bail before a special court here as CBI has failed to file a chargesheet in a case against him for allegedly receiving $5,30,000 from Rheinmetall Air Defence AG (RAD) for using his influence to stall blacklisting proceedings initiated by Indian authorities.

The letter written by Verma on forged letterhead of Ajay Maken came to light when his estranged business associate, C Edmond Allen in the US, had sent a tranche of documents to the CBI and the Defence Ministry. The documents send by Edmond consisted of a letter allegedly written on the forged letterhead of Maken.

The letter did not bear Maken’s signature. During investigation, the CBI found that Verma committed the forgery to show off his connections in the government.

The tranche received by CBI also has a letter from one of its then Superintendents of Police, which was also found to be forged, CBI sources said.

The letter on Maken’s forged letterhead was part of alleged dealings between Verma’s front company Ganton and a Chinese telecom company working closely with MTNL and BSNL.
AFT slams MoD for not implementing orders
Compliance reported in just 10 per cent cases
Vijay Mohan/TNS

Chandigarh, August 8
The Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) today expressed displeasure over non-implementation of its orders by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and military authorities. Out of more than 200 execution petitions listed before the Chandigarh Bench today for non-implementation of orders, compliance was reported in only about 10 per cent of the cases.

In an order passed in one of the petitions, the tribunal also pointed out that delayed or non-implementation of orders was resulting in imposition of costs on the government, which was ultimately a burden on the taxpayers. It was also pointed out that the court work was held up because of the non-implementation of orders and it also resulted in other expenses, including payments to counsel.

The Ministry of Defence is known to challenge most of the verdicts passed in favour of military and disability pensioners. Lawyers dealing with the subject admit that almost every verdict is challenged in the Supreme Court by the government on the ground that it is “against government policy”.

The service community has repeatedly raised the issue of non-implementation of court orders with the ministries of defence and law. Despite in-principle assent to it and statements made before the Supreme Court, the AFT has not yet been provided with powers of civil contempt and orders can be sought to be implemented only through execution petitions.

Rather than implementing judgments, the MoD and the Army HQ are also known to be writing back to affected personnel whose cases have been allowed by the AFT that their cases are against the government policy and hence will be challenged in the Supreme Court by government agencies. This is in spite of the fact that judgments rendered by all courts have to be implemented unless their operation is specifically stayed by a higher judicial forum.

Military veterans have long protested the fact that the Defence Ministry forces litigation on its poor and disabled veterans and makes them litigate up to the Supreme Court, where the litigation cost is high and becomes unaffordable for most pensioners of lower ranks.


    Delayed or non-implementation of orders results in imposition of costs on the govt, which is ultimately a burden on taxpayers
    The court work also gets held up due to this
Review group set up by govt to tackle Naxalism
New Delhi: Government has constituted a Review Group to promote coordinated efforts to tackle Naxalism in affected areas of the country, Defence Minister A K Antony told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

In a written reply to the House, he said, "Government has constituted a Review Group to promote coordinated efforts across a range of development and security activities to tackle Naxal problems in the affected areas in a comprehensive manner."

The Group has Cabinet Secretary as its Chairman and its members are drawn from all concerned Ministries, he added.
On whether the Army is being used to tackle Naxalism, Antony said, "Indian Army is not being used to tackle problem of Naxalism in our country."

Replying to a question on fire incidents in ordnance depots, he said, "During last five years fire incidents have taken place in three Ordnance Ammunition Depots.

Separate court of inquiries have been conducted in each of these incidents and no individual was found blameworthy for these incidents."

On losses incurred due to these incidents, he said, "The loss due to these incidents has been estimated at Rs 710 crores approximately."

In reply to a question on blacklisting of foreign firms, he said, "In March, 2012, the Ministry decided imposition of penalties against six firms including debarring them from further business dealing with all the wings of this Ministry for a period of ten years."

Whenever allegations of corruption are received against companies supplying defence equipment to the government, appropriate action including that of blacklisting is taken, he added.

He denied that some of these companies have been granted exemption. "None of the six companies has been exempted from this list after being debarred," he said.
1,028 soldiers commit suicide since 2003
New Delhi : A total of 1,028 soldiers from the Indian Army have committed suicide from 2003 to July this year, parliament was informed Wednesday.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony said this in the Rajya Sabha in a written reply to questions from a member.

Antony said he could not ascertain the veracity of information given by the member that over 15,000 soldiers had committed suicide in the last two decades in Jammu and Kashmir alone.

In 2003, the total suicides among soldiers was 96. It rose to 100 the next year.

A total of 129 committed suicide in 2006 and 77 in 2005.

In 2007, the figure was 118 and in 2008 123. In 2009, the number fell to 96 but rose to 115 in 2010. It was 102 in 2011.

Till July this year, 62 had reportedly killed themselves.

He said the major causes of suicides in the army were domestic problems, marital discord, stress and financial problems, according to studies by the Defence Institute of Psychological Research (DIPR).
Delhi Court turns down plea of former army chief in defamation case
New Delhi, Aug.8 (ANI): The designated court in New Delhi on Wednesday refused to hear a plea from the counsel of former chief of Indian Army, General V K Singh, who has been named as the prime respondent in a defamation case filed by Lt. Gen. (retired) Tejinder Singh.

General (retired) V K Singh's counsel had sought the recall of a file from the Ministry of Defence, which incidentally was perused by the judge on an earlier occasion for certain notings and observations.

However, when the counsel of the former army chief again submitted the plea, the judge turned it down.

Lt. Gen. (retired) Tejinder Singh who has filed the defamation case informed this to the media outside the courts complex.

"During the previous hearing, the honourable judge had called for a file from the MoD (Ministry of Defence), which he had inspected, based on which he had passed the orders for summoning etc. Today, the council for the accused requested that the file should be recalled and should be examined once again. Judge has refused the request of the counsel for the accused to recall the file," said Lt. Gen. (retired) Tejinder Singh.

Earlier on July 20, the court had granted bail to General (retired) V K Singh and four others, in the defamation case.

Besides General Singh, Tejinder Singh had also named Vice-Chief of Army Staff, S K Singh, Lt. Gen. B. S. Thakur (Director-General of Military Intelligence), Major General S.L. Narasimhan (Additional Director-General of Public Information) and Lieutenant Colonel Hitten Sawhney, accusing them of misusing their official positions, power and authority to level false charges against him.

On March 5 this year, the Indian Army in an official statement had said that retired Lieutenant General (retired) Tejinder Singh, who had allegedly benefited from the Adarsh Housing scam, was not only planting reports in the media but had even tried to bribe the Army Chief to clear a file relating to purchase of a tranche of 600 sub-standard Tatra trucks.

On its part, the court had observed that it would pass an order only after going through the file relating to the publication of the Army Headquarters March 5 press release.

The court had earlier said it was 'prima facie' satisfied that the March 5 press release was defamatory, as serious allegation of 'bribery' was made against Tejinder Singh, despite his long and distinguished service in the army. (ANI)
Army officers, jawans face off again in J&K
NEW DELHI: The Army has been jolted by yet another shocking breach of discipline with a grim stand-off erupting between officers and jawans of an armoured unit after a soldier committed suicide at a military camp in the border district of Samba in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday morning.

This comes close after officers and jawans of an artillery regiment deployed in the Nyoma sub-district of eastern Ladakh had violently clashed with each other - which left the unit commanding officer, two majors and two jawans grievously injured -- in May.

The incident on Wednesday was triggered when the jawan, Arun V, who hails from Thiruvananthapuram, shot himself with his service rifle in the camp of the 16th Light Cavalry at Samba in the morning. He died on the spot.

Sources said "tension" between the officers and jawans of the 16th Cavalry had been "simmering for quite some time" without any corrective steps being taken. The suicide proved to be the tipping point. "Angry jawans then ganged up to surround the officers and their residences in protest, leading to a prolonged face-off," said a source.

The gravity of the situation and the "complete failure of command and control" was such that senior officers, including the commander of the Yol-based 9 Corps, Lt-General A K Bhalla, rushed to the spot to calm down inflamed tempers. All officers of the 16th Cavalry were subsequently moved out of their residences and attached to different messes as a precautionary move to prevent the trouble from escalating further.

There were even indications that two Army units had been rushed to Samba, which houses a brigade and the armoured regiment, to control the situation. The Army HQ in New Delhi, on being contacted, said a court of inquiry had been ordered into the incident but denied that there was any violent brawl between the officers and jawans.

"There was a suicide but no clash. Yes, the unit officers have been moved to different messes to ensure an impartial probe. The corps commander (Lt-Gen Bhalla) is camping in the area and the situation is under control," said an officer.

All this does not happen if the case is of a simple suicide. Incidentally, defence minister A K Antony on Wednesday told Parliament that as many as 1,018 soldiers had committed suicide since 2003, with the yearly toll regularly climbing over 100. Incidents of fragging (to kill or wound a fellow soldier) have also become a regular phenomenon in the 1.13-million strong Army.

A report by the Defence Institute of Psychological Research had earlier held that "perceived humiliation and harassment, over and above occupational and familial causes", at the hands of their superiors often serves as the final "trigger" for jawans in stress-related cases in the armed forces.
Maken's interference in military promotions for sportspersons upsets army

The Indian Army has been upset with Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Ajay Maken's interference in military promotions for sportspersons without understanding its wider ramifications.

Countering Maken, who has been seeking triple promotion for outstanding sportspersons like Subedar Vijay Kumar who won silver medal at the London Olympics, army sources questioned his logic asking whether an Olympic medal could be compared with a gallantry medal like Paramvir Chakra, Mahavir Chakra, Kirti Chakra or Shaurya Chakra awarded to soldiers in war or combating terror.

The army would take up the matter with Defence Minister AK Antony, who has received a letter from Maken in this regard. Maken had on Tuesday wrote to Antony seeking the tweaking of rules to give outstanding military sportspersons a triple promotion, bringing them at par with promotion policy for civilian sportspersons.

Army sources said the sports minister was playing to the gallery. They said there are laid down norms for rewards and emoluments for outstanding sportspersons and the sports minister should not attempt to play around with the promotion policy.

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