Complaints of alleged irregularities have been received in connection with Army's plan to procure ultra light howitzers worth over Rs 3,000 crore and a committee has been formed to probe these charges, the government has told Lok Sabha. "Various anonymous complaints regarding alleged irregularities in the procurement of ultra light howitzer guns have been received. The main issues raised in these complaints relate to technical parameters, cost effectiveness and economic viability of the gun," Defence Minister A K Antony said in a written reply yesterday.
The Minister said a Technical Oversight Committee as per the provisions of the Defence Procurement Procedure has been tasked with examining all the complaints relating to this procurement case. India is planning to buy 145 ultra light howitzers from the US government under the Foreign Military Sales route. The guns are planned to be deployed along the mountainous border of the country with China and are expected to form part of the recently-sanctioned mountain strike corps to be raised along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in next five-six years. Artillery modernisation programmes of the Army have been hampered due to one reason or the other on several occasions after the Bofors gun deal scam. Since then, no new piece of artillery has been bought for the force.