Ritu Sharma Express News Service Last Updated : 03 Apr 2012 10:30:20 AM IST
NEW DELHI: The head of a ‘navratna’ Defence PSU Bharat Earth Movers Ltd. (BEML) V R S Natarajan is under CBI scanner for alleged irregularities in supplying sub-standard Tatra trucks manufactured by Vectra group to the Indian Army.
According to sources, the Defence Ministry has ordered the CBI to investigate Natrajan’s role, the BEML Chief for a decade now, in the dubious deal.
Defence Minister A K Antony had sanctioned the order on February 21 after a probe by the Ministry and BEML officials beginning 2009 confirmed the foul play.
The Ministry has been keeping the details under wraps for fear of jeopardizing the CBI investigations, sources said.
However, Natrajan refused to comment on the issue when contacted by ‘Express’ saying he has already given a public statement on the Tatra trucks.
The BEML Chief has been batting for the trucks that have been sold to the Indian Army at exorbitant prices.
BEML used to manufacture the trucks in India under license from Vectra. By now BEML was envisaged to indigenize the trucks completely, but, only 60 percent of the heavy duty vehicles’ components are manufactured in India.
“We have supplied 7,000 vehicles in the last 26 years. For last 10 years, I have been the Chairman of the company, not a single complaint has come from the Army Headquarters or any of the directorates. We never got complaints about Tatra vehicles that shows these vehicles are performing excellently... no complaint of any nature has come to us so far either directly or indirectly on performance,” Natrajan had said during a press conference.
BEML had come under scanner, after Antony’s cabinet colleague Ghulam Nabi Azad had written a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi alleging irregularities on the part of Navratna Company in the Tatra truck deals. The letter was then forwarded to the Defence Ministry for investigation.
According to the Defence Ministry, the vigilance wings of the Ministry and BEML have been examining the matter and there have been communication between the CBI and the Chief Vigilance Officer of BEML on these allegations. It was after this inquiry that Antony sanctioned a CBI probe into the matter in February this year.
BEML chief under CBI scanner
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