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Defence Employees Federations demand CBI probe against the Defence Document leakage

Three recognised unions - AIDEF, BPMS and INDWF write to President of India - The Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, in this regard

Posted : 30 September, 2020
Author : Vivek Avasthi
Defence Employees Federations demand CBI probe against the Defence Document leakage

C.Srikumar, General Secretary of AIDEF, R.Srinivasan, General Secretary of INDWF & Mukesh Singh, General Secretary of BPMS on behalf of three Recognised Federations of the Trade Unions of the Defence Civilian Employees of  Ordnance Factories have lodged a complaint with the President of India  who is the supreme commander of the Armed Forces and also to the Defence Minister and demanded for a CBI probe against the Defence Documents leaked to the Press and to take appropriate action against the  erring officials and the culprits responsible for this leakage of vital information. 

www.indianpsu.com has accessed the copy of the joint letter dtd. 30/09/2020 addressed to the President of India and the Defence Minister.  The contents of the letter is given below for the benefit of our readers.

We are pained to bring to the kind notice of Hon’ble Defence Minister that there is a systematic campaign unleashed on the Ordnance Factories and its employees to deliberately tarnish its image by certain vested interest, after the Govt. decision to Corporatise the Ordnance Factories.  We are afraid that this will do more damage than intended to the National Security and also the faith and the reliability of Indian Armed Forces on the Arms and Ammunitions manufactured and supplied by the Indian Ordnance Factories.   

It is also understood that a lobby is working within and outside to deliberately bring out certain reports suiting to their selfish interest and leaking it to the media to damage the reputation of Ordnance Factories and its workforce.  The point in question is a report appeared in the media on 29.09.20 reportedly by the Indian Army that a sizeable number of their personnel have died due to faulty Equipments supplied by the Ordnance Factories.  We also fail to understand that how the so called custodians of the Armed Forces tend to forget the recent reports on failure of certain equipments supplied by the private players and fatalities thereoff. We can understand the anxiety of certain people who are bend upon making the Indian Ordnance Factories a Corporation by hook or crook, but the way chosen and shortcuts made will have far reaching consequences not only on the National security and defence preparedness of the country, but shall also severely damage the commitments, dedication and hard earned reputation of the workforce of Indian Ordnance Factories, who stood with the Indian Armed Forces all these years and were also the script writers for the success story of the Indian Army.   

We may also bring to your kind notice that there were many reports, analysis, studies, letters  of  Indian  Armed  Forces praising the Ordnance Factories for its products and services and above all the achievements of the Indian Armed Forces against its adversaries all these years are the testimony on the dependability of the Arms and Ammunitions supplied by the Indian Ordnance Factories,  when the so called  private  players were not present.
  
Apart from the above your honour will appreciate the fact that the Ordnance  Factories are producing Arms & Ammunitions for more than 200 years. Never such type of complaint has come. Moreover all these Arms & Ammunitions are inspected and certified by the representatives of the Army as the Inspection Agency at all stage of production. All types of Ammunitions has got a shelf life. Whether these Ammunitions have crossed  its shelf life or not.  Any responsibility and accountability fixed so far in this regard on erring officials of OFB, DGQA and Army. All these issues needs to be Inquired by the Government. 

To illustrate further, it is brought to your kind notice that India Today news has reported a News item stating that Money burnt on faulty Ammunition could have bought us 100 new Howitzers, fumes Army. It said, The Indian Army, in an internal report to the MoD, has said funds spent on faulty ammunition between 2014 and 2020 could have been used to buy 100 155-mm Medium Artillery Guns. Similar news has been published/telecast in Aaj Tak, IDRW, Dainik Baskar, Financial Express and Deccan Chronicle etc.

The above news items releases many sensitive information such as the following: 

“There have been 403 accidents related to faulty ammunition since 2014, though the numbers of accidents have steadily reduced. From 114 accidents in 2014, the number reduced to 53 by 2017, rose again to 78 in 2018, and dipped once again to just 16 in 2019. But the human casualty figures are far more disturbing”. However we fail to understand the reason and intent behind this request.

Violation of Official Secrets Act 1923
According to The Official Secrets Act 1923, helping the enemy state can be in the form of communicating a sketch, plan, model of an official secret, or of official codes or passwords, to the enemy.
The disclosure of any information that is likely to affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, or friendly relations with foreign States, is punishable by this Act. Under Section 5, both the person communicating the information, and the person receiving the information, can be punished. A person prosecuted under this Act can be charged with the crime even if the action was unintentional and not intended to endanger the security of the state. Under the Act, search warrants may be issued at any time if the Magistrate feels that based on the evidence in front of them there is enough danger to the security of the state. The above information is demoralising to the Soldiers when they are fighting at LAC and a threat to National Security , if the information is correct. 

Violation of Army Rules, 1954
As per Army Rules, 21.  “Communications to the Press, Lectures, etc., no person subject to the Act shall - (i) publish in any form whatever or communicate directly or indirectly to the Press any matter in relation to a political question or on a service subject or containing any service information, or publish or cause to be published any book or letter or article or other document on such question or matter or containing such information without the prior sanction of the Central Government, or any officer specified by the Central Government in this behalf; or….” Hence, leakage , most likely from office of MGO is a serious happening . If this leakage is correct, other leakages are also possible, which will put Nation at risk. 

Violation of Army Act, 1950 
As per Army Act, Para 21, Army employees are not supposed to  communicate with the press or to publish or cause to be published any book, letter or other document. The question comes, who has shared the information and with whose permission? The matter needs immediate investigation.
In the past, The Attorney-General on behalf of GOI had taken a stand  in the Supreme Court on March 6, 2019 that they will take “criminal action” against those responsible for making “stolen documents” on the Rafale deal public.  If GOI has taken such stand in past, why it cannot take now? 

Price of Gun
As per media reports, Indian Army got 145 ULH howitzers at a cost of nearly Rs 5,000 crore.  L&T supplied 100 units of 155mm/52 calibre Tracked Self-Propelled Gun systems to the Indian army at a Price tag of Rs 4500 Crore. How can Army make a grave error in wrong estimation of price of Gun at Rs 9.6 Crore per Gun? It appears that  the news is wrong from such  a point of analysis. 
Whatever, it may be, the matter is required to be investigated by CBI, whether the news released in press is correct and who has leaked the same and both the provider and receiver of news be booked under Army Act, Army Rules and Official Secrets Act.
Hence, we request the Hon’ble President of India and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and also the Hon’ble Defence Minister to do everything possible to restrain such people from jeopardizing the security apparatus of our motherland for their selfish interests. Moreover we request your honour to order for a CBI probe in this regard to identify and fix the culprits, since such leakage from the MoD/Army Hq., will have a very serious implication on the Security and Defence preparedness of our country.