JWM S C Khatua is missing from January 17 according to a complaint lodged by his wife with Jabalpur’s Ghamapur police station this week. Family members claim he was a very honest employee and had no direct or indirect linkages in the said issue. They have also accused a senior GCF officer of subjecting him to undue trouble leading him to severe depression.
Meanwhile, sub-inspector (SI) Gulab Singh Chaudhary who is investigating Khatua’s was last seen at 8.54 am in footages collected from traffic cams. Details of his phones are being collected for further investigations. GCF general manager has also been informed about Khatua’s disappearance by police.
CBI had in June 2017 lodged an FIR against a Delhi-based company and ‘unknown’ officers of GCF Jabalpur following source information that China-made parts were masked as ‘made in Germany’ and supplied to GCF for Bofors.
Four CBI officers visited JWM S C Khatua’s house on January 10 and questioned him in connection with the supply chain. The interrogation lasted for three hours, said GCF sources.
“My husband is an honest man, and everyone knows this fact. He was not getting any support from the GCF office. CBI team was pressurising my husband to accept that he was linked with the company in question. They took him to the section where they made his stand for more than three hours despite knowing that he had an injury in his leg,” his wife told TOI.
“Please go an ask the GM why my husband and being forced to face a probe which he is not associated with. He was not even posted in the unit that is under investigation”, she said adding he is a very honest man.
GCF officials believe the ongoing inquiry is a result of a dispute between foreign partners of the company which got the contract from GCF. As per policy, Chinese products are not used in Indian defence products.
CBI FIR alleges that the supplier connived with GCF officials to supply duplicate spare parts (bearings) used in the manufacture of Dhanush guns – which is the indigenised version of the Bofors artillery guns that hogged headlines over its performance during 1999 Kargil conflict.
Investigators suspect GCF officials accepted Chinese manufactured ‘wire race roller bearings’ supplied by Delhi-based Sidh Sales Syndicate which were embossed as ‘CRB-made in Germany’, CBI says. Wire race roller bearing is a vital component of Dhanush gun.
GCF officials, however, say that it was a mistake on part of the German company which got parts manufactured from China and supplied into to India. FIR says a tender was floated for procurement of four such bearings according to the Rothe Erde drawing for 155 mm gun in which four firms had participated. The order was given to the Delhi based company at the value of Rs 35.38 lakh in 2013. This order was further increased to six bearings at the cost of Rs 53.07 lakh on August 27, 2014. The company supplied two bearings each on three occasions between April 7, 2014, and August 12, 2014.
During investigations, it was found that Delhi-based company had submitted ‘certificates in origin’ showing that bearings were purchased from a German company named CRB Antriebstechnik. Those parts had ‘made in Germany’ labels too. Sources say when bearings failed quality check tests, the company gave clarifications and assured to replace defected ones free of cost.
CBI, however, claim the German company in question does not manufacture these parts. Investigators suspect that Delhi based company got six bearings manufactured by Sino United Industries (Luyang) Ltd Henan, China. Agency has also seized emails between Indian and Chinese company. Documents shown as German were forged, they found.
During investigations, it was found that Delhi based company had submitted ‘certificates in origin’ showing that bearings were purchased from a German company named CRB Antriebstechnik. Those parts had ‘made in Germany’ labels too.