How Chinese spare sneaked into Indian Bofors via Germany

Source:-How Chinese spare sneaked into Indian Bofors via Germany

by Shishir Arya
NAGPUR: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had last month filed a case into the fraudulent supply of a Chinese spare — dubbed as made-in-Germany parts — for Dhanush, the indigenous 155mm artillery gun developed on the lines of the Swedish Bofors. However, sources said even the original manufacturer, Germany’s M/s CRB Antiebstechnick, had asked that orders for the part be placed through the Indian firm named by it, which supplied the Chinese part.
The CBI has booked promoters of Delhi-based M/s Sidh Sales Syndicate, and unknown officials of Gun Carriage Factory (GCF), Jabalpur, where Dhanush is being made.
Information gathered from sources linked to the probe shows that even Germany’s M/s CRB Antiebstechnick, whose brand was embossed on the Chinese spare, insisted that GCF should only deal through M/s Sidh Sales, rather than coming directly. GCF had purchased four wire race roller bearings for Dhanush gun in 2013. The part is basically a metallic plate on which the gun’s barrel traverses.
After getting the first batch of four bearings, GCF contacted CRB with a proposal to deal directly with it, for a subsequent order. The intention was to reduce the price, bypassing an intermediary. However, CRB insisted that GCF should only come through Sidh Sales, as it is the German firm’s authorised dealer.
Incidentally, CRB general manager Lizhuao Cai, who deals with overseas business, is a person of Chinese origin, now having acquired German citizenship. Responding to a TOI query, Cai said the company has a policy of not responding to foreign mails.
The complaint against Sidh Sales says the modus operandi was to give a cut of 20% to the German firm. In turn, it would just pack and seal the made-in-China item in its name. At the same time, an internal report accepts that the bearing has performed successfully on the gun.
In the original Bofors, the bearings were supplied by Rothe Erde, another German company. The same company bagged an order from GCF in 2012, when the first tender was issued. However, Rothe Erde could not get the export license from its government on the grounds that India was not a signatory to an international convention on cluster ammunition. The deal could not materialize due to this.
Once again global tenders were floated in 2013, in which GCF received three bids. These included Sweden’s BAE System SWS; Precision Machinecraft, Bangalore, and Sidh Sales Syndicate, against which CBI has registered a case now.
Sidh Sales emerged as the lowest bidder and got the order to supply four bearings. As work progressed on the gun, GCF issued tenders for 16 more bearings. Again Sidh Sales was the lowest bidder. However, this time the price quoted by the firm was much higher than the previous bid. Hoping to reduce the price, GCF tried to contact CRB for direct business. The offer was turned down.
Sidh Sales had supplied the first batch of four bearings in 2013, which was also the year when CRB says it started doing business with the former.
Amid the controversy, GCF has once again tied up with Rothe Erde, the supplier that sold the bearings for the Swedish Bofors. The issue of cluster ammunition treaty has been resolved as GCF will be giving an end-use certificate that Dhanush does not fire cluster bombs. The deal is expected to be finalised within a fortnight, said sources.
Source:- TNN

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