The booking of a case and the CBI raids on the residences and offices of V R S Natarajan,chairman of BEML and owner of a Coimbatore IT company,today are related to a matter that was under the CBIs scrutiny here nearly six months ago.
The matter,however,gained currency only over the last three weeks,after the CBI began investigating the BEML-Tatra truck deal following Army Chief General V K Singhs charges that he was offered bribe to clear the purchase. CBI sources said the agency had received information around October 2011 that the BEML chairman had awarded an IT contract for automating the enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems in the company to a Coimbatore firm by manipulating the tender system.
Based on the information,but without registering an official complaint,the anti-corruption bureau of the CBI unit here carried out some verifications and found a prima facie case for taking the matter forward. Since the case involved a government official above the rank of joint secretary,the permission of the CBI headquarters was needed to register a case. Official investigations were,however,taken up only by the end of March,sources said.
On Thursday,the CBI booked Natarajan for cheating,criminal conspiracy and corruption in connection with the tender process for the ERP contract between 2004-09. The value of the contract is estimated at around Rs 40 crore. He has been accused of favouring a company from his hometown Coimbatore. C S Srivatsan,the director of Astral Consultants,the firm which won the BEML contract,has also been booked.