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SASHI: I'll get it by the evening. There won't be any checking today.
TEHELKA: Take it now, na? I can arrange because I told them 3 o'clock I am getting all the documents in my hand. I have told them for the full money.

SASHI: All the documents, in the sense, you will get only the binocular and you will get the ammunitions…

TEHELKA: Ammunitions?
SASHI: I didn't get the ammunitions catalogue. Speak to the sahab. I told you to speak to the sahab. Or that thing he wrote about the procurement plan…

TEHELKA: Haan.
SASHI: 150mm ammunition…for procurement, for so much and so much amount. As in 21 cartridges. There are 21 cartridges that are imported.

TEHELKA: Achha?
SASHI: That has been given.

TEHELKA: What?
SASHI: 25 ammunition, 66 ammunition, 135 ammunition…150 for Bofors. They import all these, na?

As a matter of fact, Sashi himself was setting up different channels for us that would take us right upto Defence Minister George Fernandes and the then Minister of State for Defence, Harin Pathak. He was using state party functionaries of the BJP and Shiv Sena for lobbying with the politicians. For army officials and bureaucrats, he used their personal secretaries. Towards the end, Sashi's channels hit a roadblock. In the meantime, we at Tehelka had already opened two-three independent channels of our own which started bearing fruit. One such operator we tapped was Lt. Colonel Sayal (Retd). He was our conduit to many officers concerned with procurement. Here, Sayal has fixed a meeting with his old colleague Brigadier Iqbal Singh, PPO, Prospective Procurement Officer, a crucial post under the Master General Ordnance (MGO). Here is an excerpt from Brigadier Iqbal Singh's first meeting with Tehelka at his home.


LT. COL. SAYAL: Actually Sir, West End International is a firm, which is based in London. In London. So they have got this night-vision devices, night-vision goggles and all that. They have not entered into India so far, which they are intending to. They have a project, so they have got the assets to deal directly with manufacturers for Southeast Asia and this South Africa. About that, they want to promote that. So they have associated me also. I have got the brochures with me also, in case you have some time, so just glance through it. And if it is of any interest to you, for the defence forces.

BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: Night-vision devices?
TEHELKA: Night-vision devices…it will work minus 40.

BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: Minus 40? What spadework you've done so far?
LT. COL. SAYAL: Spadework is that there is a requirement for this kind of thing. CSF Thomson have got the order. Have not been able to, but their product is not up to the mark. So they are finding difficulties at the inspection stage itself. And now as the range is required quite a few, eight-nine companies are coming to this field. So this we secure. Further, this thing can be given as this is the time-bound project. So the aim is short-listing the name of the company; by seeing the product. Rest we will discuss later, because we have very little time left.

BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: You do like this…write a letter giving the details of product, along with a brochure, and you say that you are willing to give trials on no-cost basis. No-cost, no-commitment basis, and as such your equipment should be evaluated.

*  *  *

Ten days later, Brigadier Iqbal Singh meets the Tehelka undercover investigation team for further talks at a Delhi five-star hotel. He accepts Rs. 50,000 in bribes, advises West End on how to proceed further in the matter of the HHTs and agrees to lobby with Lt. Gen. Dhillon, Master General Ordnance (MGO), and other army officers on behalf of West End. He also impresses on us the importance of lobbying with Major General P.S.K. Choudary of the Weapons & Equipment (W.E.) division, as he is the most important at this stage.

BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: You cultivate Choudary and GSO. These two things.
TEHELKA: That is my part. I will do it. That...P.S.K. Choudary, that is your part.

BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: P.S.K. Choudary, I will try.
TEHELKA: Haan, please.

BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: That is...he doesn't come in my chain of command.
TEHELKA: Yeah. Sir, now I given 50,000 bucks. If you need more, you ask me. I will give you, no problem.

BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: See, it's like this. Your job should be done.
TEHELKA: Yeah, naturally, naturally.

BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: I am not looking for…
TEHELKA: Yeah. That US job - give me that entire thing. I will do it.

BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: One is not interested in money if your job is not done.
TEHELKA: Give me that also. That I will do.

BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: All right.
TEHELKA: No problem.

BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: And my job is to look after…up to MGO side. That is my department.

Brig Iqbal then spells out the commission that has to be given to Gen. Dhillon.

BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: Cultivating MGO is my problem.
TEHELKA: Yeah.

BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: But Choudary is not my department.
TEHELKA: But it is interconnected.

BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: I will try. I will find out somebody from his country-cousin side, whether he is game or not otherwise.
TEHELKA: Yeah, okay.

BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: All right, na? For Choudary, you also must find out somebody.
TEHELKA: Yeah. I will also find out. General Ahluwalia is close to Choudary?

BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: No.
TEHELKA: No. He told me that.

BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: Even I am not close to him. That is why I told you, I'll have to find somebody out. But Dhillon, yes, that is in my power. That meeting I will organise.
TEHELKA: Okay.

BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: If it cannot be done outside, I will organise in his office.
TEHELKA: No, not in office. That is a too dangerous thing.

BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: No, then I will organise in his house.
TEHELKA: Not in the office or house. Outside in Delhi. That is good.

BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: Let us see.
TEHELKA: Okay.

BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: General Dhillon is the boss of everything here. Even if somebody says 'yes', somebody will say 'no'. If one person in the chain says 'no', your case is doubtful by that much margin.
TEHELKA: Okay, that General Ahluwalia said that Dhillon is not such a important person.

LT. COL. SAYAL: No, why I'll tell you…what he said was…that it is a W.E. matter. General Choudary's matter. That is what…

BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: That is what I'm saying. You must cultivate Choudary. It's a Weapon and Equipment matter, fine. But it doesn't end there. Now W.E. wants to import something, or do whatever it is…it is his branch, MGO's branch…General Dhillon's branch which puts a spoke in between.

LT. COL. SAYAL: They just cannot get anything inside India. That is there.
BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: For example, we have imported some grenades. Okay? There were some range of 400-500 meters that were required to be achieved. That is only giving us 300. Now to accept that 300 or not to accept that 300…it is the…General Dhillon who plays the part.

*  *  *

TEHELKA: Sir, this…Gen. Dhillon, we can approach him?
BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: That one can organise it. No problem.
LT. COL. SAYAL: We will organize it.

BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: See, there is no single agency who is an authority of importing anything and whatever they want. That you must appreciate.
TEHELKA: Yeah, exactly.

BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: If there are 10 agencies involved, everybody plays his role.
LT. COL. SAYAL: See…problem…the point is the file moves like this [gestures with his hand in regular forward intervals]. There are linkages.

BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: For the entire Indian Army, whosoever may be the importer, I am the person who is paying the money.
TEHELKA: Okay.

BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: Whether it is Choudary or it is bloody DGPO or anybody else…

*  *  *

LT. COL. SAYAL: All that's fine, now whatever you have heard from Sir, you have to react to that. [to Brigadier Iqbal Singh] He's brought a small gift for you.
BRIG. IQBAL SINGH (reacting to Tehelka offering him money): What for, yaar?

LT. COL. SAYAL: Please, please.

BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: First let your job be done.
LT. COL. SAYAL: No, no.

TEHELKA: No sir, this is just a gift...small gift.
BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: For whom? Point is...

TEHELKA: Small gift.
LT. COL. SAYAL: Sir...

LT. COL. SAYAL: If you have a problem taking it with you, I will deliver it at your place.
BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: You do like this…let your job be done first.

TEHELKA: Small gift. That's all.
BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: Let us say I am not able to help you. Then?

LT. COL. SAYAL (Very insistent): No problem.
TEHELKA: Sir, your mind is there with us.

BRIG. IQBAL SINGH: Mind is there, of course.
TEHELKA: Okay.

[Gives him a few wads of money. Brigadier Iqbal Singh takes it and hands it to Sayal who picks up his briefcase in full view of camera and puts away the money, counting and arranging it.]

   
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