Singapore Tech banned from Indian gun bid

Indian Defense Research Wing

Singapore Technologies will not be allowed to participate in an Indian tender for 155mm ultra-light artillery guns because it was named in an alleged corruption scandal in June this year by India’s fraud investigating agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The move is the outcome of the latest circular from the Indian Defence Ministry, which does not allow tainted defense companies to participate in the procurement process pending a full CBI report, ministry sources said.

“Where the tender process has not started, there should be no dealing with the companies in the First Information Report until finalization of the investigation,” a ministry source added.

With South African company Denel still blacklisted in India following a 2005 bribery case, Singapore Technologies was the front runner in the $1 billion tender to provide 155mm light howitzers for the Army’s use in mountainous terrain.

The government has frozen the howitzer tender for now because only one bidder, BAE Systems, remains, and single-vendor defense procurements are not permitted.

In June 2009, seven companies were added to the list of those banned from Defence Ministry procurement bids: Singapore Technologies, Israel Military Industries, Poland’s BVT, Singapore’s Media Architects, and domestic companies HYT Engg, T.S. Kishan and R.K. Machine Tools. All seven figured in corruption charges filed against the former director-general of India’s Ordnance Factory Board, Sudipta Ghosh. The Defence Ministry had blacklisted these seven companies following advice from the CBI, but the latest circular officially ends Singapore Technologies’ part in the ultra-light howitzer tender.

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