Army chief drops bribe bomb, govt orders CBI probe
The govt on Monday ordered a CBI probe into army chief General VK Singh's allegations that he was offered a Rs 14-crore bribe by a middleman (a retired army officer) to buy 600 "substandard" trucks for the army in 2010. HT reports. Gen opens another front | Army chief claims he was offered bribe| The General's bombshelldelhi Updated: Mar 27, 2012 09:06 IST
The government on Monday ordered a CBI probe into army chief General VK Singh's allegations that he was offered a Rs 14-crore bribe by a middleman (a retired army officer) to buy 600 "substandard" trucks for the army in 2010.
Moving swiftly on the government directive, the CBI asked Gen Singh to submit a formal complaint listing out details of the episode - which is likely to include the name of the alleged middleman.
But there were no clear answers why neither the army chief nor the defence ministry took action against the alleged middleman or the company he represented 18 months earlier.
Gen Singh told news channel ETV that he could not take action against the person who attempted to bribe him because it was an "indirect offer" that left him "stunned". He said defence minister AK Antony too was shocked when he reported the matter to him."It could have been better if we had officially registered a complaint…He did not give any cash but said that if I clear a file, then I would get this much money. Everyone takes money so what is your problem, he asked," Singh told the channel.
Singh's bribe bomb disrupted Parliament. The BJP slammed the government for inaction, but also questioned why the chief hadn't done anything about the alleged middleman. The Left questioned the timing of the revelation, so close to his age controversy and the Congress said the government would look into the allegations.
Singh alleged that the middleman, who had recently retired from the army, said people had taken bribes before him (Singh) and would continue to do so after him.
He did not name the defence supplier or the middleman, but the army headquarters had on March 5 accused former Defence Intelligence Agency chief Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh of offering bribes on behalf of Tatra and Vectra Limited, which supplies vehicles to Bharat Earth Movers Limited.
Tejinder Singh has denied the charges. Vectra Group’s spokesperson refused comments. The army has inducted 7,000 Czech-origin Tatra trucks since 1986.
The last order for 700 trucks was cleared in 2009-2010. While Gen Singh said the vehicles were substandard, the defence ministry on Monday said there were no issues about quality.
“We have not received any complaints from the armed forces on quality. However, there are issues of after-sales service,” Rashmi Verma, joint secretary (land systems) said.