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  1. Defence Ministry seeks legal opinion for acquiring carbines

Defence Ministry seeks legal opinion for acquiring carbines

The Defence Ministry has sought opinion from the Law Ministry on a six-year-old controversial process to acquire over 44,000 carbines.

By: | New Delhi | Published: August 19, 2016 9:17 PM
Four foreign firms had responded to the tender for 44,618 guns. The competition was eventually between Italian firm Beretta and Israeli firm IWI..(PTI) Four foreign firms had responded to the tender for 44,618 guns. The competition was eventually between Italian firm Beretta and Israeli firm IWI..(PTI)

The Defence Ministry has sought opinion from the Law Ministry on a six-year-old controversial process to acquire over 44,000 carbines.

Defence sources said the ministry is awaiting for a legal opinion on how to proceed further.

Four foreign firms had responded to the tender for 44,618 guns. The competition was eventually between Italian firm Beretta and Israeli firm IWI.

However, Beretta was disqualified in Army trials for carbines and IWI was the only firm that passed the test resulting in a single vendor situation.

Former Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh had alleged that it was an “unfair selection” and wanted inclusion of Beretta in the list of vendors along with a CBI probe into the whole issue.

The Italian firm was disqualified because its carbines’ laser sight did not match the quality requirements of the Army.
Singh had suggested laser sights could be procured from the state-run Bharat Electronics Ltd.

However, the Army and the Defence Ministry’s acquisition wing argued that the terms of reference of the contract could not be changed to accommodate any vendor and would be illegal.

“The legal opinion will look into whether the ministry can go through with a single vendor or an alternative route needs to be followed,” a source said.

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