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-35-

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MAJ. GEN. CHOUDARY: I have said, "No", to Sagem. In fact, Sagem had approached the Defence Secretary. Defence Secretary was keen that we trial evaluate. Army put its foot down. Now, when we do that, it is recorded in the file. How can I take up a case for your company?
TEHELKA: No…no, sir, if I will now recommend from the ministry. From…

MAJ. GEN. CHOUDARY (interrupting): No, no, even if the ministry says. They will ask me, "You have said 'no' to him then, why are you saying 'yes' now?" You see, there are questions asked. There's…that's why I said, this product, please don't talk. Have you got something else where I can advice you ?

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MAJ. GEN. CHOUDARY: The first thing is…show me your brochure and get it evaluated by me. If it fits the bill, I'll advice you to go to ECIL with your offer because they have already got other offers.
TEHELKA: Okay.

MAJ. GEN. CHOUDARY: And ECIL is then, is to give me the full product. You see, you're getting your product through them. That product has to be integrated into the tank or the... All that ECIL will take care of. And it will offer as…as a collaborated product of theirs.
TEHELKA: Okay.

MAJ. GEN. CHOUDARY: Because the kind of navigation system required today is not available. We would have bought it two years ago had the nuclear blasts [Pokhran] not taken place.
TEHELKA: Yeah, yeah, yeah…

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MAJ. GEN. CHOUDARY: (nodding): These defence purchases are so intricate, so many people…people looking…
TEHELKA: Yeah, exactly sir, that is true thing. That is very true.

MAJ. GEN. CHOUDARY: Unless…that's what I am saying. You look after the minister; I get my stuff.
TEHELKA: Yeah, yeah.

MAJ. GEN. CHOUDARY: Something comes to the Army. You look after the minister or whomever you want….
TEHELKA: Yeah.

*  *  *

General Choudary explains further how the technical evaluation process goes and at what stage the commission comes in. He also takes his gift.

MAJ. GEN. CHOUDARY: Initial job is mine. To put everybody who's approached or who has…whom I know is capable, I put him in the play.
TEHELKA: Okay.

MAJ. GEN. CHOUDARY: Then we ask them for technical proposals.
TEHELKA: Okay, okay, okay.

MAJ. GEN. CHOUDARY: Full specifications, what are the capabilities of your system, and then see is it matching with ours.
TEHELKA: Okay.

MAJ. GEN. CHOUDARY: What we need. Out of 10, five will be weeded out when we take the evaluation. Without even seeing the equipment, based on data that is provided.

[Tehelka journalist coughs]

MAJ. GEN. CHOUDARY: Balance five people, after technical evaluation, are asked, "Bring your stuff for trials immediately on no-cost basis".
TEHELKA: Hmm.

MAJ. GEN. CHOUDARY: Then you carry your trial and evaluation. In the trials, out of five, three may get weeded out; only two may come out winners.
TEHELKA: In short-list?

MAJ. GEN. CHOUDARY (nodding): Till that is my job. After that, between the two, who gets it is the ministry's job. That's on commission [Rubs his index finger and thumb to indicate that money is involved at this 'commission' stage.]

TEHELKA: Okay. In the bureaucrat, what…what they will play the role? See, because major role will play the user, that's you…your side.
MAJ. GEN. CHOUDARY: That is my side. That's what I said.

TEHELKA: Now…not…now, not in the bureaucratic or politicians' side?

[Choudary shakes his head]

TEHELKA: Okay.

[Tehelka journalist slaps his thigh in a show of excitement]

MAJ. GEN. CHOUDARY: Thereafter, it's entirely with the ministry to call for the commercial…

TEHELKA: And who will decide the PNC and everything?
MAJ. GEN. CHOUDARY: I am a member of that too. To advice… but it is generally chaired by the joint secretary of the ministry.

TEHELKA: Okay, sir it's right information. Now I got the right information.
MAJ. GEN. CHOUDARY: No one individual can assure you.
TEHELKA: Yeah.

TEHELKA: I can give a…small gift for you?
MAJ. GEN. CHOUDARY (smiles): You already gave me a…
TEHELKA: No, sir. This is my…I am not saying that anything…haan?

[Tehelka journalist turns around and opens his briefcase. He takes out a wad of rupees and closes the briefcase.]

TEHELKA (getting up to hand the money to Gen. Choudary): Sir, one lakh.
MAJ. GEN. CHOUDARY: (Expressing surprise but accepting the money anyway): Money?

[He puts money in the front right pocket of his trousers.]

MAJ. GEN. CHOUDARY: This is not…
TEHELKA: No, this is my…my…my…happiness.

MAJ. GEN. CHOUDARY: But, please remember, there is no one individual can help you in this.
TEHELKA: Yes, sir.

MAJ. GEN. CHOUDARY: We can only put in…put in our bit.
TEHELKA: Okay.

[Pause]

   
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