BHOPAL: A junior works manager (JWM) of Guns Carriage Factory (GCF), Jabalpur was interrogated by CBI in connection with supply and use of Chinese parts for production of indigenised Bofors guns used by Army.

CBI had in June 2017 lodged an FIR against a Delhi-based company and ‘unknown’ officers of GCF Jabalpur following a source information that China-made parts were masked as ‘made in Germany’ and supplied to GCF for Bofors.

Four CBI officers visited JWM’s house on Friday and questioned him in connection with the supply chain. Interrogation lasted for three hours, said GCF sources.

“JWM being interrogated by CBI in one of the most dedicated officers in GCF. Ongoing inquiry is a result of dispute between foreign partners of company which got the contract from GCF,” said GCF officer wishing anonymity. As per policy, Chinese products are not used in Indian defence products.

CBI FIR alleges that the supplier connived with GCF officials to supply duplicate spare parts (bearings) used in the manufacture of Dhanush guns – which is the indigenised version of the Bofors artillery guns that hogged headlines over its performance during 1999 Kargil conflict.

Investigators suspect, GCF officials accepted Chinese manufactured ‘wire race roller bearings’ supplied by Delhi-based Sidh Sales Syndicate which were embossed as ‘CRB-made in Germany’, CBI says. Wire race roller bearing is a vital component of Dhanush gun.

GCF officials however say that it was a mistake on part of the German company which got parts manufactured from China and supplied into to India. “FIR is a result of disputed partnership and breach of contract,” said an officer requesting anonymity.

FIR says, a tender was floated for procurement of four such bearings according to the Rothe Erde drawing for 155 mm gun in which four firms had participated. Order was given to the Delhi based company at the value of Rs 35.38 lakh in 2013. This order was further increased to six bearings at the cost of Rs 53.07 lakh on August 27, 2014. The company supplied two bearings each on three occasions between April 7, 2014 and August 12, 2014.

During investigations it was found that Delhi-based company had submitted ‘certificates in origin’ showing that bearings were purchased from a German company named CRB Antriebstechnik. Those parts had ‘made in Germany’ labels too. Sources say when bearings failed quality check tests, company gave clarifications and assured to replace defected ones free of cost.

CBI however claim the German company in question does not manufacture these parts. Investigators suspect that Delhi based company got six bearings manufactured by Sino United Industries (Luyang) Ltd Henan, China. Agency has also seized emails between Indian and Chinese company. Documents shown as German were forged, they found. Investigations are on.