New Delhi, Jan 15 : For about a year now, there have been reports of a $3.8- billion Singapore arms firm being “blacklisted” on corruption charges. On Friday, the company said this was far from being so.

“We have never been told we have been blacklisted. The CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) has spoken to us but we have never been told what the charges against us are,” Patrick Choy, the chief marketing officer of Singapore Technologies Kinetics (ST Kinetics), said at a press conference here, at which he also announced that the Indian Army would begin trials next month of the company's towed 155 mm artillery gun.

“We are more than willing to open our books for inspection. We have not done any wrong. Our corporate governance is of a very high standard. In the last 40 years, there has not been a single instance of our having done wrong,” Choy maintained.

“We have a reputation to keep. Now that trials are to begin of our gun, that speaks for itself,” he added.

At the same time, he admitted to a “setback” in the company's bid to sell its Pegasus 155 mm ultra light howitzer (ULH), trials of which were stalled last year when allegations of corruption first emerged.

At that time, the defence ministry had said it had blacklisted seven firms, including ST Kinetics, after allegations of their bribing Indian officials surfaced against them.

On May 17, 2009, the CBI had registered a first information report (FIR) against former Ordnance Factory Board director general Sudipto Ghosh under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The seven companies were mentioned in the FIR.

Late last year, the defence ministry had permitted the trials of ST Kinetics' towed howitzer but said a contract would be signed only after the CBI cleared the firm.

Speaking about this company's dealings with the OFB, Choy said: “We had been speaking to them about the manner in which we would have to fulfil our offset obligations.

“We are also sourcing from the OFB the 5.56 mm ammunition for our SAR-21 assault rifle that we have offered to the (Indian) home ministry as part of its homeland security requirements,” he pointed out.

Choy said that six ST Kinetics' proposals were pending with the Indian government - four with the defence ministry and two with the home ministry.

Apart from the Pegasus and ULH howitzers, the company has also offered to the defence ministry a self-propelled version of the Pegasus and the Bronco all-terrain tracked vehicle for front line defence and disaster relief applications.

The home ministry, apart from the SAR-21, is also considering the company's 9 mm folding submachine gun.

“ST Kinetics plans to address India's strategic needs and is fielding tailored solutions to meet the requirements of the modernisation programmes of the armed forces,” Choy pointed out.

The company is also planning a major presence at next month's DEFEXPO international defence exposition here.

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