New Delhi: After Firstpost divulges on glaring irregularities within the civil production of Indian Air Force’s (IAF) tremendously sensitive Integrated Air Command and Control System (IACCS) assignment, a former manager of a defense public quarter project and a whistleblower has surfaced alleging corruption in the procurement of software program for computerized command and control device for air defense operations.
Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), a defense public quarter mission, implements the Rs 7 900 crore undertaking, which was initiated throughout the UPA regime.
The former supervisor of BEL, Bhupesh Sharma, in a letter to the Ministry of Defence and the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) on 29 June 2019 has stated that pinnacle control of the defense public sector assignment quietly buried the findings of a 2016 internal inquiry, which indicted six BEL officers for alleged corruption. Sharma alleged that regardless of a reminder from the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) of the agency to the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of BEL in April 2018, no punitive action turned into taken against the accused officers.
Sharma, then part of the procurement committee, had blown the whistle over alleged manipulation inside the procurement of Data Distribution Service (DDS) software to favor an American corporation. Sharma, alleging victimization, said accused officers indicted with the aid of vigilance were rewarded through BEL even as he becomes harassed for exposing deep-rooted corruption.
“Even after CVC intervention and reminders by way of CVO to CMD (Chairman and Managing Director), no movement turned into taken in opposition to the erring officers. I was pressured and bothered to the extent that I turned into pressured to surrender. Instead of blocklisting the seller M/S RTI USA, the order was sooner or later positioned on the seller. The vigilance officer who inquired about this example has also been given punishment posting to a far-flung unit of BEL. The message given by using the pinnacle control changed into clear that each person who speaks towards corruption would be brutally suppressed. Those who play in conjunction with the individuals on the pinnacle having vested interests might be rewarded,” Sharma, who claims to have been decorated with innovation awards, excellence awards, and Raksha Mantri Award for IACCS undertaking, wrote to the CVC.
The documents also screen that BEL officials made efforts to conceal the alleged irregularities employing removing the files and purchase order. Even the investigators had been denied full access to e-mails of the worried buy department.
A unique questionnaire sent to the Chief Vigilance Commissioner Sharad Kumar, Ministry of Defence, and BEL CMD MV Gowtama remained unanswered.
Unraveling of software scam
The first post has reviewed the documents submitted to the Ministry of Defence and the CVC, which surely shows that the procurement committee had engineered unwarranted specifications inside the procurement of the DDS software program to allegedly disqualify one of the two carriers in the race for the settlement.
The two companies, M/S RTI, USA and M/S Prismtech, the UK, represented by M/S Mistral Solutions and M/S RTTS respectively, were invited through the BEL to procure DDS software. The vigilance file stated that the procurement group had pre-decided to present the settlement to M/S RTI USA. The entire technique of actual time demonstration to assess feasibility, also referred to as Proof of Concept (POC), became simply eyewash.
Although UK Company had quoted value of the undertaking inside the range of approximately Rs 5 to 10 crore, the quote submitted by American corporation M/S RTI became about Rs 130 crore. However, because the BEL had decided to furnish the assignment to M/S RTI, USA, thru its Indian representative M/S Mistral Solutions, BEL officials inserted a selected specification that caught the eye of the vigilance group investigating the case.
“Technical professional in his document has stated that there may be a loss of clarity within the PoC assessment system/standards, resulting in ambiguity and conspiracy. Also technical expert has confirmed that there are irregularities and inconsistencies in framing specifications and undertaking PoC. Scope of PoC for the DDS record no longer specify any particular technique of demonstrating the PoC, and it generally highlights the functions to be shown in the PoC. Hence the seller can pick out any specific technique and exhibit the capabilities. PoC evaluation criteria and the PoC check record is not uniform for all the vendors,” the vigilance document to the CVC said.
System Requirements Specification file signed with the client by BEL suggests that there are no special specification requirements for the use and configuration of DDS. Additionally, the safety of the information transferred the use of DDS. PoC scope does not highlight that the above protection implementations need to match and verify DDS OMG standards. Even although no vendor has a complete implementation of DDS X kinds, nonetheless M/S RTI becomes proven complied for the duration of technical bidding concerning para 6.2 of technical specification,” the file similarly stated.
The vigilance file made it clear that the procurement committee of BEL allegedly changed specs cited above as ‘para 6.2 technical specs’ to a healthy American company. Sharma claims he had hostile such manipulation and grew to become a whistleblower with the aid of exposing the wrongdoings in his emails to vigilance and top officers of the BEL.