Tatra punch packed with raid heat on BEML chief By Mail Today Reporter
PUBLISHED: 19:28 GMT, 19 April 2012 | UPDATED: 19:28 GMT, 19 April 2012
The CBI on Thursday opened another front to pin down the tainted chief of the state-run Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) who has already been neck deep in trouble for the multi-crore military truck scandal.
The sleuths registered a case of corruption against BEML chairman and managing director VRS Natarajan for irregularities in engaging the services of a consultancy firm to implement an enterprises resource planning project.
It's a parallel case that the CBI was probing apart from the primary inquiry into the BEML-Tatra trucks deal. Agency sleuths said after exhaustive raids at Natarajan's houses and offices that they were probing the new case.
A BEML spokesperson also made it clear the raids were not connected with the truck deal. 'A case against the BEML CMD and a director of a Coimbatore based company has been registered under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Searches are being carried out in the offices and residential premises of the accused,' a CBI statement said. The agency said the company in question was Astral Consulting Ltd in Coimbatore.
CBI officials added that Natarajan and the promoters of Astral connived to defraud the public sector undertaking through irregularities in the tendering process for hiring a consultancy to implement the enterprises resource planning project. 'It was alleged that the accused persons were party to a criminal conspiracy in Bangalore and other places during 2004-2009 to cheat BEML through work relating to the implementation of the enterprises resource planning project. This caused wrongful loss to the PSU (BEML) and wrongful gain to others,' the CBI said. The investigating agency, which interrogated Natarajan throughout the day, said the raids were based on credible information.
The CBI booked Natarajan and Astral director C.S. Srivatsan under Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code, besides Sections 13(2) and 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Sources said the CBI could pull a few more rabbits as it goes through the load of complaints against Natarajan. However, the officials refused to divulge details. Apart from the BEML chief, the CBI on Thursday questioned Brig. (retd) P.C. Das, Col (retd) Anil Datta and Anil Mansharamani for their role in the Tatra scam. Their homes were raided the day before.
Mansharamani, a Tatra employee, was said to be regularly in touch with the two former army officers who were suspected to have lobbied for Tatra using their clout in the army. Sources said they were questioned for their links with the UKbased Tatra Sipox and its owner Ravi Rishi. The Tatra controversy erupted in full force after the army chief, Gen. V. K. Singh, said last month that a retired Lt-Gen. had offered him a bribe of Rs 14 crore to clear the purchase of 600 substandard Tatra trucks.
It was suspected later that the officer in question was Lt-Gen. (retd) Tejinder Singh. Since then, the BEML-Tatra deal has come under intense scrutiny.
Read more: CBI could pull a few more rabbits
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