The row about the Tatra trucks gets more and more weird ..

For some time now, it has seemed that all of you have to do is to make an allegation about anything, and when there is an investigation, there does seem to be something wrong. Call this endemic of the amount of corruption that is present in Government, and which nobody tries to take any steps to prevent. The army is still one of the more respected institutions of the country, but one is starting to feel that the defense sector (not the army specifically, but the entire wing of the Government dealing with defense) is as corrupt as any other arm of the Government. The Minister in charge, AK Antony has no allegations of corruption against him personally, but just like his boss, the Prime Minister (who also has a reputation of honesty), just being personally honest is not enough. You have to enforce the same thing in your area of responsibility, else you are as liable as if you were personally corrupt yourself. Antony is now starting to come under a cloud because he does not seem to have done too much to weed out the corruption present within the defense sector. Antony over the past few years has black-listed firms that have done indulged in corruption when dealing with the Ministry of Defense, but these actions have not been deep nor have they done anything to stop the stench of corruption in this area.
Consider the case of the Tatra trucks. These are trucks that are used by the army extensively for transporting anything from equipment to missiles to other stuff. The army gets these trucks from BEML, but they originally come from a company owned by an Indian origin person, Ravi Rishi. When the army chief made the controversial allegation that he was offered a bribe of 14 crores for allowing the supply of these trucks, there was a firestorm of controversy. The Army Chief had apparently carried on this complaint to the Defense Minister, but there was no further action by either the Minister or the Army Chief. The Army chief was negligent in not pushing for an investigation, but the Defense Minister was criminally negligent for not handing the matter over for investigation at that time, rather than pushing for a CBI investigation when the matter came to the media.

And some other people weighed in at that point of time. The BEML Chief had the courage to come and make statements to the effect that BEML was always in the right, and these trucks were well liked, so where was the need for a bribe. When there was a problem, you keep shut. Now investigation has started to reveal that BEML was charging a high markup on the trucks, and even more problematic, violated a Government rule about not buying from agents. It would seem that both Ravi Rishi and the head of BEML would be in trouble if the investigation is carried through. However, the flip side of this is that the no-agent rule instituted by the Government is counter to how the business of defense procurement normally runs, and trying to prevent this from happening has led to more corruption, and when detected, leads to huge delays in procurement. One would have thought that a thinking and watchful Defense Minister would have tried to get a policy that would have been more rational, and also lead to quicker and corruption free procurement (and we are not even talking right now about trying to increase the amount of weapons developed in India). Refer this article that talks about Tatra (link to article):

Sources in the government said that the revelation raises questions if BEML violated norms about concluding government contracts, saying that the CVC may call for an inquiry into the matter. “BEML may have a lot of explaining to do,” said a senior source.
A senior official in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said that the BEML decision to sign a contract with Tatra Sipox (UK) in 1997 was “purely the company’s decision”, and had no clearance from the MoD. “It was the PSU’s decision, they have to explain,” he said. The official, however, pointed out that prime facie BEML has committed serious violation of contractual norms.
The official said BEML doesn’t seem to have carried out a proper due diligence. “Conversely, it is a willful violation,” the official said.

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