The CBI quizzed defence minister AK Antony recently on former army chief VK Singh’s allegations that a retired army official had offered him a bribe in September 2010 to clear the purchase of 1,676 high-mobility Tatra-BEML trucks.
Defence minister AK Antony at Amar Jawan Jyoti in Delhi. (PTI)
The agency is probing Singh’s allegations, according to which former Lt Gen Tejinder Singh had allegedly offered him a `14 crore bribe, as part of its FIR registered in October 2012. When contacted, CBI director Ranjit Sinha told HT, “CBI has recorded the statement of defence minister AK Antony in the bribery probe. His statement is that of a witness.”
The retired Lieutenant General has denied Singh’s allegations.
“The minister said that the former army chief had informed him about the alleged bribe offer. The minister had made a statement about it in the parliament and had ordered a CBI probe to examine the complaint,” said a source.
The bribe offer was allegedly made on September 22, 2010, during Singh’s then stint as the army chief. Singh had informed Antony hours after the alleged bribe offer was made.
The CBI is also forensically examined an audio recording of the purported conversation that allegedly occurred between Singh and the accused officer but it did not yield substantial leads.
CBI has examined alleged link between the accused officer and the trucks’ manufacturing firm’s owner. The probe however does not have direct evidence.
When contacted by HT, Singh’s lawyer Vishwajeet Singh said Singh has given “sufficient evidence” to the CBI including “notings from the daily memorandum, the visitors’ register and a tape.”