NEW DELHI: The government is open to reviewing cases of blacklisted defence firms on merit as it prepares a new policy that will allow foreign defence firms to legally hire agents, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said.
He added that banned firms can be conditionally allowed to do business in the country. “Based on merit and necessity, one can think of lifting the ban to a reasonable level,” he said.
Parrikar said state-run Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) has been allowed to supply spare parts for Tatra trucks, as long as it does not deal with the British subsidiary of the company that was banned following irregularities in its deal with BEML.
He pointed out that one should not just go by the name Tatra as there are 3-4 companies which make the trucks.
“The company which has been banned is Tatra UK and we have permitted BEML to deal with the original company which is owned by different people now,” he said, adding the condition is such that it should not have relations with “questionable individuals”.
“A restricted Non Objection Certificate has been granted to BEML, because we do need for defence purpose Tatra vehicles. It has become critical for certain applications,” he said.
Heavy vehicle maker Tatra was banned in March 2012 after then Army Chief General V K Singh’s allegations that he was offered bribe to clear sub-standard trucks supplied by the company to the Army.
Meanwhile, the Congress has reacted sharply to the defence minister’s statement.
Senior party leader and spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “It is a serious issue, the government should call an all-party meeting to take the views of other political parties. This is not a matter that can be decided through the Defence Minister’s off-the-cuff remark.”