New Delhi: It's rare that bad news for the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is also bad news for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The agency's allegations of corruption in the import of the Barak missile hinge on the contention that key decision-makers of that time overlooked the indigenous Trishul option.
Now, in a stunning acknowledgement that the Trishul is a failure, the UPA Government has ordered that the programme be scrapped.
The decision has been taken after continuing failure of guidance systems even after 18 years of development work, which cost an estimated $70 million. The DRDO has been asked to wind up its Trishul facilities at Balasore by December.
The Trishul is the first missile from India's Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme to be scrapped.
The countdown for the closure of the Trishul programme began after the UPA Government signed a follow-up deal on the Barak in January. Under this agreement, the DRDO will work on a 60 km area missile defence system with help from Israel.
Meanwhile, Navy Chief Admiral Arun Prakash gave the CBI more food for thought after be gave a gave a thumping clean chit to the Barak, strongly endorsing its utility to the Navy.
"The proof lies in the eating of the pudding and we've fired it on 14 occasions and 12 of them have been direct hits. We have used them against low-flying surface-to-surface missiles. So, as far as we're concerned, it's very good. I don't think there's anything comparable in any other Navy," Admiral Arun Prakash said.
The CBI claims that the very recommendation to acquire the Barak was a dishonest one, which now looks more and more untenable. For its case to stand, the CBI must now come forward and produce evidence that bribes were paid.