Sunday, October 21, 2012

Tatra scam: Will the former Chief's be linked?

CBI books Tejinder Singh for bribe offer to ex-Army chief
Neeraj Chauhan, TNN | Oct 21, 2012, 03.23AM ISTNEW DELHI: After six months of elaborate investigation, the CBI on Saturday filed a case against Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh for allegedly offering a bribe of Rs 14 crore to former Army chief General VK Singh to clear the purchase of 1,676 high-mobility Tatra trucks for the Indian Army.
The agency carried raids at seven places in Delhi, Mumbai and Noida on the premises of Vectra Group chairman Ravi Rishi and Tejinder Singh's residence at Safdarjung Enclave here, and recovered Rs 98 lakh in cash and also questioned the retired Lt Gen.
Sources say that Tejinder Singh even had links with alleged arms-dealer Abhishek Verma, which is being probed.
Although there was a two-year lag between when the ex-Army chief reported the alleged bribe offer to defence minister AK Antony and CBI registering a Preliminary Enquiry (PE), the agency has decided to launch a formal investigation since the evidence seemed to corroborate Gen VK Singh's version of what transpired between the two.
CBI is conducting a parallel inquiry into the complaint regarding the monopoly Tatra has enjoyed for two decades in supplying all-terrain trucks to defence forces. Sources said the charge sheet in the case is in final stages, and could be filed in a Delhi court shortly. The agency is expected to charge officials of Tatra and the public sector, Bharat Earth Movers Limited.
Sources in the CBI said that preliminary investigation has established retired Tejinder Singh's meeting with the then Army chief as well as that the latter was unhappy with what had transpired. During its probe, CBI has established that cause of action of Tejinder Singh's visit to General VK Singh on September 22, 2010, was because "the file related to procurement of Tatra trucks was lying on the table of army chief that day" and that "Tejinder Singh offered bribe on behalf of Ravi Rishi as he is closely associated with the latter".
Antony's confirmation of General VK Singh's "oral complaint" was found to be strong corroborative evidence.
But strengthened the case for a formal investigation was evidence of Tejinder Singh's alleged dealings with lobbyists for arms manufacturers, including a Korean company. Tejinder Singh has been booked under section 12 of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act. Under Section 12 of the PC Act, a person who abets the offence of making a public servant accept illegal gratification, whether or not that offence is committed in consequence of that abetment, can be punished with the minimum punishment of six months which may extend to five years.
"We have evidence of his links with a shadowy set of former defence officers who were on the payroll of arms manufacturers and suppliers", said a senior CBI source.
CBI books Tejinder Singh for bribe offer to ex-Army chief

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