//CBI files Rs 2-cr charge at George in missile deal with Israel

CBI files Rs 2-cr charge at George in missile deal with Israel

October 11, 2006

NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 10: Six years after India signed the Rs 1,150-crore Barak missile deal with an Israeli company, the CBI has registered an FIR naming former Defence Minister George Fernandes, his colleague and former Samata Party president Jaya Jaitly, the then Chief of Naval Staff Sushil Kumar and former Samata Party treasurer R K Jain. With an annual outlay of more than $14-billion  the Indian military has emerged as the world's largest weapons buyer.  The selling of weapons and military knowledge has been at the heart of relations between Israel and India for many years. According to estimates, the scope of  Israeli – Indian deals ahead of 2000 stood at hundreds of millions of dollars.

The security relations between the two states started at the beginning of the 1990s, when numerous Israeli defense delegations flooded India in a bid to market their products.  During BJP rule,  the pro- zionist intelligentia took the controle of political corridors of power in the  Prime Minister's office, the Defence Ministry and the Home ministry, in New Delhi. It is being alleged that the presence of this arms trading network were traced in many armed conflicts across India. This influential network also   established  various research institutions across India to hype security risks and thus to promote weapon trade. The money coming from the bribes and the kick backs have been channelised to the welfare of  Sangh Parivar empire. While not much information on deals has been released, it became clear that the countries were extensively trading in arms and military equipment with the help of  this Zionist – Hindutva network.

Investigating 48 Defence deals cleared during the BJP-led NDA government, the CBI made its first move today, searching 35 premises of six suspected middlemen who, it alleged, gobbled crores in Defence deals. The agency also alleged that former Admiral S M Nanda’s son Suresh Nanda bribed Samata Party functionaries to get George Fernandes’s signature on the Barak deal.

The FIR on the Barak deal stated that Suresh Nanda paid Rs 2 crore to Jaya Jaitly at George Fernandes’s house to get the NDA government’s signature on a contract for seven Barak Anti-Missile (AMD) Systems and 200 missiles from M/s Israel Aircraft Industries Ltd (IAI). The deal, the FIR said, was done in haste and despite the DRDO’s objection. The then DRDO chief, the FIR said, had recommended the indigenous Trishul for the Navy. Suresh Nanda, the FIR alleged, also paid several lakh of rupees to former Samata Party treasurer R K Jain to influence the then Defence Minister’s decision.

In 2001, Admiral Sushil Kumar had defended the Barak deal, saying “It is wrong to say that Fernandes tried to push the Barak deal. The Navy was convinced of the efficiency and the cost-effectiveness of the Israeli missiles which had undergone tests since 1992.” The CBI FIR accused Fernandes of overruling the DRDO’s opinion “at the behest of the middlemen/agent”. It said that Navy chief Sushil Kumar, in connivance with middlemen and other accused, directly put up a proposal to Fernandes for procurement of seven Barak AMD systems.

“He misrepresented facts by saying that DRDO gave its concurrence for Trishul three years ago, when the indigenous Trishul system was at its inception phase. The real fact is that Sushil Kumar had discussed this matter that very day with the then DRDO chief who had opposed the proposal,¿ the FIR stated.

The Barak deal was signed on October 23, 2000. Fernandes, according to the FIR, tried to get the deal approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security despite objections raised by the then Defence Secretary. The proposal, the FIR said, had also been processed as a single-tender basis and the negotiated money was in excess by US $17 million (Rs 71 crore), the FIR said, adding that there was prima facie evidence of kickback received from the IAI and other firms connected with it into the accounts of middlemen. On the delay in filing FIRs and conducting raids, CBI Director Vijay Shankar said: “It is a matter of record that CBI had sent letter rogatory to South Africa and other countries. There are volumes of Defence deal related papers that we had to study before taking action against top Defence dealers across the board for the first time.”

In the raids conducted at 27 premises in Delhi and eight others in Gurgaon, Bangalore, Chandigarh and Mumbai, the CBI seized Rs 62.5 lakh unaccounted cash from Sanjiv’s office located in a New Delhi hotel. It took away 15 credit cards of Nanda, saying that the CBI would study his expenses’ pattern. The CBI also recovered Rs 70 lakh from Suresh Nanda’s Prithviraj Raj Road house. Besides money, the CBI has seized several documents from the premises/offices of six middlemen. The documents link them with the Defence dealers in the concerned cases, CBI sources said. It also confiscated computer hardware and pen drives to study records.

The five alleged middlemen are M S Sahani, Lt Col V K Beri, Vipin Khanna, Arvind Khanna and Major S J Singh. In Mumbai, the CBI raided Suresh Nanda’s office Dynatron Pvt Ltd and his brother’s office Crown Export Pvt Ltd, both located in Andheri. Suresh Nanda has also figured in kickbacks allegedly received in procurement of Armoured Recovery Vehicles (ARVs) along with R K Jain.

Suresh Nanda, the FIR said, was paid Rs one crore through R K Jain to ignore the technically sound and lowest offer proposal of M/s PSB Bohemia and get the project awarded to two other companies on the pretext of promoting indigenous production of ARVs.

In the TGMs-Krasnapol case, the CBI FIR named M S Sahani, retd Major S J Singh and Lt Col V K Beri for the alleged kickbacks. “An agreement for trials with the firm was entered into even before the publication of General Staff Quality Requirements and issuance of Request for Proposal,” said the FIR. In the Denel case, nine premises of Vipin Khanna and Arvind Khanna were raided. Vipin Khanna is accused of receiving “substantial amount” as kickback from M/s Varas Associates, the FIR said. 

The Israeli Defense Ministry confirmed reports that the arms deals were being looked into. The Ministry further stated that the Indian investigation team has not approached it and that as far as they know, the Israeli companies contacted by India were cooperating with the investigators. The cooperation with the Israeli defense industries included the selling of knowledge and arms, warships, unmanned aerial vehicles, missiles, cannons and electro-optical equipment.

Following a massive arms kickbacks scandal in the mid-1980s, a clause was put in all Indian government defence deals stating a company could be blacklisted and contracts cancelled if it pays middlemen.

Local dealers linked to South Africa's armament firm Denel were also under the CBI scanner on suspicion they bribed Indians to help the state-owned firm win a $3,9-million  army contract. India last year froze the supply of Denel guns pending the CBI probe. The South African firm denies it violated any Indian laws.

Denel was also bidding to set up an ordnance factory in India's Bihar state as well as sell artillery guns worth $1,23-billion dollars. But the company can deal with India only after it is cleared by the CBI of the bribery charges. Mohanty also said CBI detectives also searched for evidence to confirm reports that money illegally changed hands for a Russian military contract.