Trouble is mounting for Vectra chief Ravinder Rishi with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) initiating a probe on the charges of money laundering in the Tatra truck deal. The CBI is already investigating Rishi in the Tatra deal case and General VK Singh bribery allegation.
The ED has registered an enforcement case information report (ECIR) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Rishi, his company Tatra Sipox (UK) Limited and state-owned Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML).
The CBI has accused him in entering into an illegal agreement with the BEML for supply of heavy duty Tatra trucks since 1997.
The defence purchase norms say any defence procurement should take place from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) but Rishi's company was not the OEM. The CBI has estimated that Rishi pocketed R250 crore from the deal.
The ED will now probes whether Rishi invested illegally earned money from the Tatra deal into legitimate businesses. The ED has registered the case after gathering initial details of the probe from the CBI and other official channels and it is set to question few people including Rishi in this regard.
The ED will summon the BEML officials also during the course of its probe. Rishi is the owner of UK-based Vectra group. He had come to India to participate in a defence expo but in the meanwhile the CBI registered a case against him in the Tatra deal and summoned him for questioning.
Since then the CBI has questioned Rishi and some BEML officials in the case. The agency is planning to examine BEML chairman and managing director VRS Natrajan next week.
Gen Singh had also complained to the CBI that Rishi was the person on whose behalf retired Lt Gen Tejinder Singh offered him a R14-crore bribe to clear a fleet of 600 “sub-standard” Tatra trucks in September 2010.