Stung by recent bribery scandals, Defence Minister A K Antony on Saturday transferred his power to approve deviation from prescribed norms during arms purchases to the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC).
The responsibility to approve any deviation from the prescribed Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) hitherto rested with Antony, but now this power will be wielded by the DAC.
The DAC on Saturday approved the change in the distribution of work in the Defence Ministry, as proposed by Antony himself.
The DAC also gave its nod to the other amendments proposed in the DPP, which was last promulgated in 2011, aimed at the twin objective of eliminating gaps in the weapons purchase processes that bred corruption and to create a domestic defence manufacturing base to reverse the trend of arms imports.
The changes in the DPP have been triggered by the recent allegations of corruption in the purchase of 12 VVIP helicopters from the Italian firm AgustaWestland in January 2010 for `3,546-crore. The procurement norms for the VVIP helicopters had been tweaked in 2005.
Former IAF Chief S P Tyagi and his three cousins are among those named in a case filed by the CBI in connection with the allegation that `350 crore was paid as bribe by AgustaWestland to win the VVIP chopper tender.
The DAC, headed by Antony, also has Minister of State for Defence Jitendra Singh, Army Chief General Bikram Singh, Navy chief Admiral D K Joshi, Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne, DRDO Chief V K Saraswat, Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma, Defence Production Secretary R K Mathur, Director General Acquisition Satish B Agnihotri, and others as members.