Were There Any Irregularities In The Indian Army's Rs 12,000 Crore Tender For Buying Carbines? One Contender Alleges So

Swarajya Staff

Jun 26, 2024, 05:25 PM | Updated Jun 27, 2024, 12:48 PM IST

AK-19 close quarter battle (CQB) carbine of the IRRPL's whose bid was rejected by the Defence Ministry. (Kalashnikov)
AK-19 close quarter battle (CQB) carbine of the IRRPL's whose bid was rejected by the Defence Ministry. (Kalashnikov)

One contender in the Indian Army's tender for buying 425,213 close-quarter battle (CQB) carbines worth Rs 12,000 crore has alleged some irregularities in the proceedings of selection of the winner in the bidding process.

The vendor, M/s BSS Material Ltd, which was taking part in the tender on behalf of Indo-Russia Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL), the manufacturer of AK-203 rifles in India, has filed a petition in the Delhi High Court stating ambiguity in the selection process that has led to the ouster of M/s BSS Material from the bidding process.

M/s BSS Material's bid was rejected by a technical evaluation committee (TEC) of the Defence Ministry citing weak financials of the original equipment manufacturer (OEM).

In the tender for manufacturing these 425,213 CQB rifles, three companies, viz, M/s BSS Material on behalf of IRRPL, Jindal Defence, and Adani Defence group PLR systems took part.

However, last year the TEC disqualified M/s BSS Material's bid on account of the vendor not meeting the tender's financial requirements.

M/s BSS Material says in the petition that the net worth and average annual turnover of the OEM IRRPL should be considered instead of the vendor.

Moreover, BSS Material says that by not providing information on whose financials, whether of the vendor or of OEM, that needed to be considered, the TEC has made an error considering the financials of the vendor.

BSS Material says that it urged TEC to consider the financials of the OEM — IRRPL — instead of the vendor, twice. Once on 24 July and the other on 7 August, but to no avail.

According to reports, M/s BSS Material says that it would be highly unreasonable to consider the financials of the vendors instead of the OEM as it does not make investments in raw materials and the production facility required for manufacturing the carbines.

The carbine that was on offer by M/s BSS Material was the AK-19 which, according to the vendor, has a high commonality with AK-203 assault rifles which are being manufactured in IRRPL's facility in Amethi under a joint venture between India and Russia.

Get Swarajya in your inbox.