India has lifted its nine-year ban on South Africa based Denel after investigations failed authenticate corruption charges pertaining to a rifle sale over a decade prior.
Denel received a letter confirming the decision to de-blacklist the company from the Indian Ministry of Defense earlier this month, according to various reports.
Denel was banned in 2002 after allegations surfaced that it paid kickbacks to secure a contract with the Indian Army to sell 1,000 NTW-20 anti-material rifles along with 398,000 rounds of ammunition.
Under the deal, 700 rifles were to have been purchased directly and the remaining 300 licensed-produced in one of the factories of India’s state-owned Ordnance Factory Board. Only 400 rifles had been inducted into the Indian Army and the remainder put on hold after the 2005 blacklisting and investigation by the anti-fraud agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Several Indian Army projects including the purchase of 155mm/52 caliber artillery guns were stalled and subsequently cancelled after the blacklisting. It also delayed the development of the “Bhim Artillery Project,” under which Denel had proposed to install its 155mm artillery gun on an Indian-made Arjun tank chassis.