The Indian Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has closed an investigation into allegations of irregularities in the award of the INR5.7bn ($74.2m) contract for the production of Akash missile system components.
In May 2013, the agency launched an investigation, accusing senior officials of Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) of committing irregularities while awarding the contract to Tata Power, the Press Trust of India reported.
The contract covered the production of self-propelled launchers for Akash missile systems, which were scheduled to be supplied to two regiments of the Indian Army to replace its 2 SA-6 Groups.
Unnamed CBI sources said the inquiry was initiated against the then BDL chief managing director major general (retired) Ravi Khetarpal, and other senior officials, including the then executive director, director and general manager, among others.
Undertaken by the Hyderabad-based CBI unit, the preliminary inquiry number PE 0352013A0004 has been closed, as the agency could not find evidence of any alleged corruption against the officers, the sources added.
However, the CBI recommended 'suitable action' for alleged violation of rules. The Press Trust of India failed in its attempts to speak to BDL and Tata Power.
Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, Ordnance Factories Board and Bharat Electronics as part of the integrated guided-missile development programme, the Akash missile is an all-weather missile system capable of engaging aerial threats up to a distance of 25km.
The 5.78m-long, nuclear-capable missile can destroy targets, including unmanned aerial vehicles, fighter aircraft, cruise missiles and other ballistic missiles launched from helicopters.
Featuring a launcher, control centre, multi-function fire control radar and supporting ground equipment, the missile has already entered service with the Indian Air Force.
Image: Akash surface-to-air missiles being displayed at Aero India 2011. Photo: courtesy of Defence19.