Debunking former Army chief VK Singh’s claim that bribes were offered to him to clear the purchase of all-terrain Tatra trucks, the CBI on Tuesday sought to close the case, giving a clean chit to UK-based company Tatra Sipox (TS) and its CEO Ravinder Rishi for want of “sufficient evidence” to prosecute them.
In its closure report filed before a special CBI court, the agency said there was no basis to the allegations that TS illegally supplied these trucks as the Indian Army had a valid contract with Czech based company Omnipol, an authorised representative of Tatra a.s.
“During the course of investigation, a Letter Rogatory (LR) was sent to the Czech Republic… the execution reports do not point towards guilt of any accused person in this case,” said the agency, which had registered the case as an off-shoot of Gen Singh’s March 2012 complaint that he was offered a bribe to clear a tranche of Tatra all-terrain vehicles.
The court is yet to take up the matter. The closure report is likely to impact another case filed against Lt Gen (Rtd) Tejinder Singh who had allegedly offered a bribe to Gen Singh, currently a minister in the NDA government.
The allegation that the companies padded the costs of trucks by changing currency of payment from dollars to Euros also failed to stand legal scrutiny after “Bank of Czechoslovakia claimed that it was the bank which had insisted on the change in currency.”
The CBI concluded that lack of indigenisation of trucks supplied by Tatra a.s. “was not a lapse.”