The CBI probe into alleged irregularities in purchase of more than 6,000 Tatra trucks has revealed that the ministry of defence (MoD) allegedly paid extra amount, ranging between `4 lakh and `5 lakh per Tatra truck, to the manufacturer. The agency officials are now preparing to question defence ministry officials in this regard.
Sources in the agency said, “Initial scrutiny of the documents, recovered by the CBI sleuths, has revealed that MoD allegedly paid extra amount, ranging between `4 lakh and `5 lakh per Tatra truck, to the Vectra company through the state-owned Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML).” The role of some senior officials of the BEML and MoD is being probed by the agency in this regard.
The agency officials have questioned London-based businessman Ravi Rishi, chief of the UK-based Vectra Group that had bought the majority stakes in Tatra Sipox, in this regard. If required, he may be called for questioning again in this connection, sources added. When asked about the total loss to the exchequer in purchase of more than 6,000 Tatra trucks by the Army, sources said, “Without taking views of the MoD officials on the issue, It would not be appropriate to mention any amount as total loss to the exchequer. It is not the job of the CBI to decide the total loss figure. After completion of the agency’s probe, authorities concerned will decide the loss figure.” The probe is concentrated on criminal conspiracy aspect in Tatra trucks deal only, sources added. The agency officials have also recovered some specific documents which reveal that certain MoD officials had even objected Tatra Trucks deal in 1998. “The CBI may record the statements of those officials who had objected the deal,” sources said. The CBI is probing the supply of more than 2,500 kits by the Vectra company to the Army in 1997-98. Probe has revealed that important components were allegedly missing from majority of the kits supplied to the Army, sources said.
“The Indian Army allegedly paid huge amount to the company for the supply of these kits. The agency is probing under what circumstances officials of the ministry of defence paid huge amount to the private company for the supply of these kits. The agency is trying to ascertain the identity of the MoD officials who played important role in releasing funds to the company without checking these kits,” sources said.
-via Deccan Chronicle.