HindustanTimes Wed,20 Aug 2014

Tatra case: CBI to seek clarifications from VK Singh

Abhishek Sharan, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 15, 2014
First Published: 01:41 IST(15/5/2014) | Last Updated: 01:43 IST(15/5/2014)

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) may soon seek clarifications from former army chief VK Singh on his allegations that a retired Lieutenant General had offered him a bribe to clear the purchase of 1,676 high-mobility Tatra-BEML trucks.

The agency may seek clarifications on certain case evidence, including an alleged audio-recording of the bribe offer, and a purported delay of around 18 months in Singh’s complaint eventually reaching the CBI for probe, said a CBI source.

The agency is probing Singh’s allegations as part of its FIR registered in the case in October 2012, which was preceded by a Preliminary Enquiry lodged in April the same year. The agency had recently recorded defence minister AK Antony’s witness statement on Singh’s allegations and also on the purported delay.

According to Singh’s version, he had verbally intimated Antony about the alleged bribe offer the day it was made on September 22, 2010. While making a statement in the Rajya Sabha in March 2012, Antony had confirmed that Singh had told him about the alleged bribe offer and that he had asked the latter to “pursue” the complaint. The accused official has denied the allegations.

Singh’s lawyer Vishwajeet Singh confirmed to HT that the CBI may seek a “supplementary statement” of his client.

He said, “The onus of initiating a CBI probe was with the defence ministry since Singh had verbally communicated about the bribe offer within hours. Based on it, ultimately, the PE was lodged. So, why didn’t the ministry send its reference to CBI earlier?”

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