New Delhi: Ravi Rishi, Chairman of Vectra Group and the largest shareholder of Tatra trucks, met the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officers with all records of his company's deals with the Indian Army. The CBI has registered an FIR against Tatra Sipox UK in the Tatra- Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) deal under which all-terrain vehicles are supplied to the Indian Army.
The FIR in the deal, which does not name any person, has been registered under Section 13(1D) of Prevention of Corruption Act and Indian Penal Code Sections 120 B and 420 for crimminal conspiracy and cheating.
Rishi was summoned in connection with the case following Army Chief General VK Singh’s allegation that he was offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore to clear sub-standard vehicles supplied by Tatra. General Singh has alleged that he was offered the bribe by a retired Army officer representing Tatra trucks to clear sub-standard vehicles for the Indian Army.
Searches are going at four locations in Delhi and Bangalore in connection with the deal. Sources said that Rishi met senior CBI officials and offered his cooperation in the investigation into the bribery allegation levelled by the Army Chief.
The CBI has also written to the Ministry of Defence seeking documents on BEML's initial agreement for supply of Tatra trucks. The agency has also sought details of transfer of technology agreement with the manufacturer.
Earlier, Rishi had denied that his company offered bribe to General Singh claiming that he did not deal directly with the Defence Ministry or the Army Chief. He also rubbished the allegation that Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh, who has been accused by the Army Chief of offering him a bribe of Rs 14 crore, was associated with his company.
"We are not related to Tejinder Singh at all. We don't need to go to Ministry of Defence or the user for any reason. Our trucks are sold in come parts to Bharat Earth Movers Limited that makes the complete truck and sends it over to the Army. This has been happening since 1986. We don't need canvassing or agents. We are like vendors to Bharat Earth Movers Limited," said Rishi.
Meanwhile, a CNN-IBN investigation exposed how BEML, a defence PSU, had been doing business with Tarta-Vectra whose records were not up to the mark. Ironically the parent company has been facing allegations in the Czech Republic.
The Tatra trucks are crucial in the transport of soldiers and defence equipments during a conflict, but following General Singh's allegations the trucks are at the centre of a dubious deal.
In 2003 BEML wrote to the Central Government asking for permission to ink a joint venture with Tatra Sipox UK. BEML's claim was that since the bifurcation of Czechoslovakia Tatra Sipox UK, the marketing arm had become a major shareholder in the Czech Republic-based MS Tatra.
Since BEML had been dealing with the marketing arm for all technical arrangements to roll out the Tatra vehicles there was a need to form a joint venture in national interest
Surprisingly Tatra Sipox UK records don't seem to match the claims. Details accessed by CNN-IBN show that as late as 2004 Tatra Sipox UK was a company based out of Richmond Surrey, but has no overseas details. No branches exist for Sipox UK and no previous names exist for the company for the last 20 years.