Rheinmetall has written, requesting Indian Defense Ministry to be taken off the banned list with the conglomerate expressing its intention to participate in PM Narendra Modi’s 'Make in India' initiative.
The defence ministry has come up with a new blacklisting policy in November after working on it for over a year. However, it lacks clarity on how it will treat complicated cases of companies that are already on a banned list.
The policy has not clarified if it will be applicable from retrospective effect but few sources said that the ministry is likely to review all cases of blacklisted companies in the coming months.
The new policy empowers the defense ministry to decide on penalties and action against companies accused of corrupt practices.
The case of Rheinmetall, headquartered in Dusseldorf, has complication as the company has already been charged for hiring a middleman in an attempt to get off a defence ministry banned list in 2012.
The government’s counsel has asserted in the ongoing court case that the company is `in habit of offering illegal gratification to influence Govt of India’s business decision in the matter related to defence which is a serious national security concern, the Economic Times reported today.
However, the request of the German conglomerate is likely to be considered by the ministry under a new policy that has reduced the period of blacklisting from 10 years to five, while retaining the flexibility to take any action as decided by the defence minister.
Rheinmetall was banned after it was charged by the CBI in a 2009 case for allegedly paying bribes to win an order for 35 mm Revolver Air Defence Guns from the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). Again the company was charged in 2012 for allegedly entering into a criminal conspiracy with consultant Abhishek Verma to get off a defence ministry blacklist.
The CBI charged the company for paying the agent $5,30,000 to get rid of its banned status.
Verma got bail in October after spending four years in prison on several charges, including alleged conspiracy in the Rheinmetall case. The company said that it is looking forward to have its status restored as a supplier to India.