CBI begins probe into ‘bribe’ offer to Chief,clears Lt Gen Suhag

CBI says there was no ground to initiate a probe against Lt Gen Suhag as Cabinet Secretariat given him a clean chit.

Written by Rahul Tripathy | New Delhi | Published: March 30, 2012 10:12 pm

THE CBI today launched a probe into Army Chief Gen V K Singh’s allegation of having been offered bribe,as well as registered a case of alleged irregularities in the supply of all-terrain Tatra trucks through state-owned BEML.

However,the agency said,there was no ground to initiate a probe against Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag as a comprehensive inquiry by the Cabinet Secretariat had given him a clean chit. As first reported by The Indian Express,General Singh had sent a letter to the CBI containing allegations against Suhag,written by Trinamool Congress MP Ambica Banerjee.

On Friday evening,the agency finally received a “brief statement” from the Army Chief on the alleged bribe offered to him. For the first time he mentioned Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh as the alleged bribe giver,though without mentioning the amount. Singh has told CBI begins probe into ‘bribe’ offer to Army Chief,clears Lt Gen Suhag

the CBI a detailed complaint will follow.

The CBI also said that the FIR into the Tatra-BEML deal was registered based on a complaint pending with them since January 2011. Sources said the complaint received from the Ministry of Defence last year had been sent to the Bangalore branch,which did not do much. With the issue blowing up after Singh’s interview,it re-examined the documents and registered an FIR,the agency said.

After registering a case against unnamed officials of the Defence Ministry,Army,BEML and Vectra today for alleged criminal conspiracy to cheat and indulge in corrupt practices,CBI officials carried out searches at four places in Delhi,Noida and Bangalore and interrogated Vectra group chairman Ravi Rishi,named as one of the accused,for nearly two hours. Vectra is a majority stake holder in Tatra.

The CBI said its probe into the supply of Tatra trucks,from 1997 onwards,was concentrated on three issues:

a) The company that supplied the Tatra vehicles was “misrepresented”. While in the contract between BEML and Tatra Sipox (UK) Ltd in 1997,it was agreed that the UK company would supply the vehicles,the CBI FIR says another company supplied the parts to BEML. According to the FIR,the contract to Tatra Sipox was worth Rs 5,000 crore and resulted in a loss of nearly Rs 20 crore to the exchequer.

b) Undue benefit was given to Tatra Sipox through “terms of currency”. “According to the contract,it was agreed that the payments would be made in US dollars. But the Indian authorities made the payments in Euro,which resulted in a loss of nearly Rs 4 crore,” said sources.

c) Neither Ministry of Defence officials nor the Army claimed any damages from Tatra-Vectra for the late delivery of vehicles. In the agreement,it had been decided that Tatra would pay damages for any late delivery of vehicles. However,by not claiming the same,the CBI FIR says,a loss of nearly Rs 10 crore was caused to the exchequer.

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