S. Vijay Kumar The Hindu Sunday, Mar 20, 2011
They caused huge losses, delayed mass production of ‘Akash’ missile
When SAMEER shortlisted Sam Shin Precision the company was yet to be formed
Abuse of power alleged in contract for mass production of Integrated Radio Line Modems
CHENNAI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday arrested two former scientists of the Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering and Research (SAMEER) on charges of irregularities that caused a huge loss to the exchequer and delayed the mass production of ‘Akash,’ the surface-to-air missile developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), sources in the agency said.
(SAMEER is an autonomous institution for Research and Development under the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology that deals with sensitive defence related and other projects.)
Between 2005 and 2009, the sources said, S. Karunakaran, former Director of SAMEER, Taramani, Chennai, allegedly abused his official position and awarded the contract of mass production of Integrated Radio Line Modems (IRLMs) favouring Sam Shin Precision Pvt. Ltd, a firm owned by his friend P. Rathinavel.
IRLMs were meant for use in Akash Missile Programme by the Ministry of Defence. Other eligible Government and reputed private companies were denied the contract.
Mr. Karunakaran also awarded work contracts of SAMEER to other companies owned by Rethinavelu. When SAMEER shortlisted Sam Shin Precision for awarding the contract, the company was neither formed nor registered, the sources said.
“The CBI took up suo motu investigation in this case. During the probe, the role of K.R. Kini, another former Director of SAMEER, in causing huge loss to the Government came to light. The act of the two scientists resulted in the hindrance to the progress of ‘Akash’ missile project,” a CBI official told The Hindu on Saturday.
He said the conditions laid down in the ‘Transfer of Technology’ agreement was not complied with by the scientists and the contractor. “When the delay in the supply of IRLMs was affecting the mass production of Akash missile, the DRDO got the material from other sources. Besides causing a loss to the exchequer, the accused persons interfered with the progress of a sensitive project that relates to national security,” the official said.
A case of cheating, criminal conspiracy and corruption was registered against the three. They were produced in a special court and remanded to judicial custody till April 1, the sources added.