New Delhi: Tonight, as the government decides to investigate a series of defence acquisitions under the UPA, NewsX has learnt of what could be a potentially bigger defence scam than Agusta.
If the former Air Chief SC Tyagi is being investigated for accepting kickbacks to make one dilution in SQRS to benefit Agusta then in the case of the purchase of Pilatus trainer jets there were no less than 12. The dilutions allowed Swiss firm Pilatus to bid and bag a Rs 3,780 crore contract from the govt for the supply of 75 trainers.
The irony is that stiffer benchmarks were set in March 2009 for India’s PSU HAL which was developing 181 basic trainer aircrafts for the IAF which was dubbed HTT-40. The stiffer benchmarks ruled out the Indian made trainer. Strangely, the SQRS were diluted from Sept 2009 when the UPA govt permitted IAF to import 75 basic trainer aircrafts through a global tender.
Within days, the govt issued air staff qualitative requirements in a document numbered ASQR 18/09. Some of these dilutions even compromised pilot safety.