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Tatra case: Tejinder says chief stood by rival firm

Retired Lt-Gen says VK Singh favoured Ural trucks over Tatra heavy duty vehicles

delhi Updated: May 17, 2012 09:40 IST

Retired Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh has alleged before CBI officials that army chief General VK Singh was favouring Ural trucks over Tatra heavy duty vehicles.

The army has been procuring Tatra trucks since 1986 from Czech vendor through state owned Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML). But now the procurement is under CBI probe after it was alleged that the BEML was not procuring the trucks from the original equipment manufacturer.

General VK Singh had alleged that Tejinder Singh offered him a bribe of Rs 14 crore to clear a consignment of around 600 Tatra trucks in September 2010. General Singh brought the bribery allegation in public domain in March. Following this, the defence ministry ordered a CBI probe in the matter.

The CBI is conducting a preliminary enquiry into the matter. “After recording a statement of General VK Singh, we sought clarification from Tejinder Singh. The retired officer denied all charges and instead charged Gen VK Singh of favouring Ural trucks. He also levelled the allegation of illegal phone tapping on the army chief,” said a source.

Investigators have already sought clarification from General Singh on the charges levelled by Tejinder Singh and the army chief has denied them.

“We have to find out who is telling the truth in the matter. Both have accepted that they met in September 2010. Both say that Tejinder Singh came to seek the army chief’s help for getting the post of NTRO chairman. Except for the allegations on the bribe offer, both the officers have corroborated almost everything about the meeting,” said the source.

According to sources, now investigators are checking whether Tejinder Singh was in touch with any officer who was liasoning on behalf of Tatra or Ravinder Rishi, the owner of Tatra Sipox (UK) Limited that was supplying the trucks to the BEML. The army chief had alleged that Tejinder Singh offered bribe on behalf of Ravinder Rishi.