Army chief Gen VK Singh has in his formal complaint to the CBI named UK-based Vectra chairman Ravinder Rishi as the person on whose behalf retired Lt Gen Tejinder Singh offered him a Rs. 14-crore bribe to clear a fleet of 600 "sub-standard" Tatra trucks in September 2010.
Gen Singh has said in his complaint that Tejinder Singh met him and claimed that Rishi was scared of meeting him directly and that he (Tejinder) had therefore come to make the bribe offer on the Vectra boss's behalf, a CBI source disclosed on Wednesday.
Indian Army chief General Vijay Kumar Singh attends the Army Day parade in New Delhi. Reuters/B Mathur
This is the first time that the army chief has mentioned Rishi in connection with the bribery allegation.
On the basis of the army chief's complaint, the CBI on Wednesday registered a preliminary enquiry against Tejinder Singh and Rishi.
An FIR is usually registered if sufficient evidence of a cognisable offence is found during the enquiry.
"The process of verification of the complaint and facts provided by Gen VK Singh has begun. We will soon examine retired Lt Gen Tejinder Singh and Rishi. The General has provided us details of the contract for Tatra trucks and the action taken by the army headquarters against the supplier for sending sub-standard vehicles," said a senior agency official.
Rishi is an accused in the Czech Tatra truck procurement case being investigated by the CBI separately.
He has been questioned several times in connection with the Tatra case in which a Vectra group company supplied 5,000 trucks to the army through the state-owned Bharat Earth Movers Ltd (BEML) since 1997.
Tejinder Singh has maintained that he neither offered any bribe to Gen Singh nor ever worked for or on behalf of Rishi. He has filed a defamation suit against the army chief for allegedly maligning his reputation.
"Now we will try to find out whether there was any contact between the retired army officer and Ravinder Rishi," said a CBI source.