Antony says he ordered CBI probe into bribe offer on his own
Under attack for delaying action for two years on the alleged bribe offer to Army Chief Gen VK Singh, defence minister AK Antony on Tuesday said he had ordered a CBI probe as soon as the matter came into public domain without anybody demanding it.delhi Updated: May 08, 2012 22:31 IST
Under attack for delaying action for two years on the alleged bribe offer to Army Chief Gen VK Singh, defence minister AK Antony on Tuesday said he had ordered a CBI probe as soon as the matter came into public domain without anybody demanding it.
Antony said he had not taken any action when the Army Chief told him about the bribe offer in 2010 as he had told Gen Singh to do so but he had refused to pursue the matter then.
"That day I did not do anything...I accept that day I did not take action. I am not denying that," he said, replying to a discussion in the Rajya Sabha on the functioning of the defence ministry.
As Opposition members sought to corner him over his inaction leading to an uproar, Antony said the Army Chief did not want to pursue it "so I did not take action".
Recalling Gen Singh's visit to his office in 2010, Antony said the Army Chief had told him that he had been offered crores of rupees as bribe by Tejinder Singh.
"I was shocked," the defence minister said while displaying how he put his hand on his forehead.
"After that day, nobody took any action...Nobody demanded CBI inquiry. When the matter was printed, without anybody asking for CBI inquiry, I ordered CBI probe," Antony said.
This agitated Opposition members as V Maitreyan (AIADMK), Balbir Punj (BJP) and some other members were on their feet. They were saying that the matter would not have been investigated had it remained secret.
The Chair had a tough time placating the agitated members to enable Antony continue with his reply.
Antony said when he read in newspaper on March 26 about Gen Singh's allegation that he was offered Rs 14 crore bribe, he was "shocked that such a statement has been made by the Army Chief."
He said he immediately called the Defence Secretary and directed a comprehensive CBI inquiry at 11am the same day and the order reached the investigative agency by 3 PM.
"We have nothing to hide," the defence minister insisted.
With regard to the Tatra trucks which are mired in a controversy, he said there was an MoU with Tatra Sports of UK in 2003 as Czechoslovakia, where the main factory was based, which broke up into two countries.
He noted that he had ordered CBI probe on February 15 this year into the alleged wrongdoings in the Tatra truck deal with BEML.
"I don't blame anybody. We don't want to cover anyone," he said, adding if anything wrongdoing had taken place, the law will take its course.
Talking about various allegations of corruption involving the armed forces like Adarsh Housing scam, Srinagar land scam, Pune land scam, Kandivili land scam, Antony said, "We will not spare anybody, howsoever powerful he may be."