Army Chief controversy: Vectra’s Ravi Rishi left India in 1983
March 30, 2012 By LALIT SHASTRI DC BHOPAL
Ravi Rishi, promoter of the Vectra Group, which is under the scanner in relation with the V.K. Singh controversy, left India over a quarter-century back, after the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence registered a case against his company, Rishi Electronics, in 1983 under the draconian Cofeposa law.
Army Chief Gen. V.K. Singh had disclosed that a huge bribe was offered to him for clearing the purchase of 'substandard' vehicles from the Vectra Group.
Mr Rishi, who later acquired British citizenship, set up businesses in several countries. He is alleged to have got a lot of help from a 1979 batch IFS officer with over three dozen vigilance cases against him.
After the Soviet collapse and Czechoslovakia’s breakup, Mr Rishi’s Vectra Group acquired a majority stake in Tatra, based in the Czech Republic, which has operations in India and Eastern Europe.
A COFEPOSA case against Mr Rishi's previous company was closed since it became time-barred after 10 years. In the meanwhile, Mr Rishi also got roped into a customs case in 2008, when his company Global Vectra Helicorp Private Limited, along with a few top industrialists, got entangled in the customs net on the charge of evading duties by misrepresenting facts during the import of helicopters and luxury jets.
On the Vectra-Defence link, the Vectra Group had earlier told this newspaper that Tatra a.s. is based in the Czech Republic and has no relation with the Indian ministry of defence.
However, on inquiry it was revealed that Vectra Group was the largest shareholder of the consortium Tatra Holding s.r.o. that owned Tatra a.s. The Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) has been making trucks for defence and other purposes under licence from Tatra. Hence technically it is BEML that has been directly linked with MoD but Vectra stood to gain from each truck supplied to the Army by BEML.
The Vecta Group was in the news earlier when due to certain discrepancies in the evaluation process, the ministry of defence had scrapped an ambitious Indian Army tender for light observation helicopters.
One of the frontrunners in the race was Eurocopter, along with Bell. Global Vectra Helicorp, one of the Vectra Group companies, was the agent for Eurocopters in India. These companies had scored over Augusta of Italy and the Russian Kamov and Kazan.
In December 2007, the lid was off from the 'dubious' evaluation process when contrary to the MoD claim that Eurocopter had engaged someone for liasoning.
Inquiries also revealed that Vectra Group had acquired maximum shares in India Exposition Mart Ltd (IEML) established for improving the "potential of exporting Indian Handicrafts".
This facility is Located in Greater Noida, close to New Delhi. This acquisition by Vectra Group is also said to be linked to the Vectra Group promoter Ravi Rishi’s close association with the suspended IAS couple Arvind Joshi and his wife Tinoo Joshi.
Ms. Joshi, who was Deputy Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office between 1988 and 1990, was later posted as Development Commissioner Handicrafts, Ministry of Textiles, Government of India (2004-07) and member secretary of All India Handicrafts Board. The Board’s mandate was to advise the Government on the formulation of the overall development programmes in handicrafts sector.
She was also Secretary General Federation of Indian Export Organisations. It is the apex Export Promotion Body set up by the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India.
Vectra’s Ravi Rishi left India in 1983
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Comments: Sounds like the repeat of Bofors Scam never unearthed- kingpin Italian Quattrocchi equated to Ravi Rishi in the new Indian avatar!
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