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Tatra deal: CBI searches homes of former army officers

Tatra Trucks Army India Bem

New Delhi, April 18 (Agency)

 

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Wednesday conducted search operations at the homes of two former army officers in Delhi and Noida following complaints about irregularities in the procurement of the all-terrain heavy duty Tatra trucks.

 

CBI sources said searches were also being conducted at the residence of an official of the Britain-based Vectra group that supplies Tatra trucks to the Indian Army through defence public sector undertaking Bharat Earth Movers Ltd. (BEML).

 

However, the sources refused to name the army officers and Vectra official because identifying them would "impede" the investigation.

 

The CBI search operations come a day after the agency questioned three people, including former BEML director V. Mohan, the company's present chief V.R.S. Natarajan and Vectra group chief Ravinder Rishi, in connection with alleged lapses in the supply of Tatra trucks.

 

Army chief, Gen V.K. Singh, blew the lid off the alleged scam after he alleged in March that he'd been offered a Rs.14 crore bribe to clear a deal for supplying sub-standard Tatra truck.

 

The army in a March 5 press release took the names of Tatra and BEML, alleging that Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh had offered a bribe on behalf of Tatra and Vectra.

 

The agency was probing why BEML decided to procure Tatra parts from Tatra Sipox (Britain), a private company, from 1997 when it was doing so through Omnipol (a state-owned unit in Czech Republic) since 1986.

 

The sources said CBI was trying to find out why BEML officials signed an agreement with Tatra Sipox (Britain) in a hurried manner June 14, 1997 in Bangalore, three days after they had a meeting with the firm and its associate companies' officials in Slovakia.

 

One more company, Venus Projects Ltd., in which Rishi allegedly has some stakes, was under the CBI scanner as he allegedly used it for purchasing spare parts for Tatra trucks, they said.

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