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Blacklisted firms can vie for defence contracts till probe on: Def Ministry

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NEW DELHI (PTI): The Defence Ministry of India has decided that it will allow blacklisted companies to participate in field trials for defence contracts where there are multiple vendors till the time they are under probe.

After the Ordnance Factory scam, Central Vigilance Commission's (CVC) and the Law Ministry's comments were sought and they advised us that these (blacklisted) companies should be allowed to participate in field trials in contracts where multiple vendors were participating so that the acquisition process was not stalled, Defence Ministry sources said here.

Any further progress and decisions with regard to the tenders will be subject to the report submitted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which has been investigating allegations of corruption, they added.

After the blacklisting of seven companies in June 2009 for their alleged role in the Ordnance Factory scam, field trials for the 155 mm/ 52 calibre towed artillery guns contract of the Indian Army were stalled.

Singapore Technologies and BAE Systems were the two vendors offering their guns for the tender but after the former was blacklisted, the trial of the guns were withheld but have been given a go ahead now.

For the single-vendor contracts where blacklisted companies were involved, sources said that they will not be allowed to go for field trials till the time they were cleared of the charges against them.

For the Ultra-light howitzers contract for the Army, Singapore Technologies was the only vendor.

The sources added the Government was now looking to procure these guns from the United States through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route in an inter-governmental deal. The US is offering the BAE systems made M-777 guns.

In June 2009, Defence Ministry had blacklisted seven defence companies, including Israeli Military Industries, Singapore Technology, BVT Poland and Media Architects Pvt Ltd of Singapore and three Indian companies T S Kishan Pvt Ltd, R K Machine Tools and HYT Engineering, for their alleged role in the Ordnance Factory Board scam and had put on hold all deals with them.

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