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CBI raids ex-Army officers’ houses, seizes vital papers
Syed Ali Ahmed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 18
The CBI conducted searches at the residences of two retired Army officers and an official of the Britain-based Vectra group at Noida and in New Delhi today. It recovered some key documents in connection with its probe into the alleged irregularities in getting the supply of Tatra all-terrain vehicles to the army through defence public sector undertaking Bharat Earth Movers Ltd (BEML).

The searches were conducted at the residents of retired Brigadier PC Das at Vasant Kunj and retired Colonel Anil Dutta at Noida and at the residence of Vectra employee Anil Mansaramani, sources said.

The prime investigating agency needed some key documents to support its probe. It constituted three teams to conduct the searches that began early this morning, resulting in the seizure of crucial documents.

The searches were conducted after the agency questioned former BEML director V. Mohan, the company's chief VRS Natarajan and Vectra group chief Ravinder Rishi in connection with the alleged lapses in the supply of Tatra trucks.

After getting inputs from Mohan, Natarajan and Rishi, the agency found it necessary to search the residences of the retired army officials and the Vectra employee to gather crucial documents which could help the agency in the case, the sources said.

Army Chief Gen V.K. Singh blew the lid off the alleged scam after he alleged last month that he had been offered a Rs 14 crore bribe to clear a deal for supplying ‘sub-standard’ Tatra trucks.

The agency was probing why the BEML decided to procure Tatra parts from Tatra Sipox (Britain), a private company, from 1997 when it was doing so through Omnipol (a state-owned unit in Czech Republic) since 1986.

The agency had registered a case against Rishi, some unnamed officials of the Defence Ministry, the army and the BEML on March 30 for the alleged criminal conspiracy, cheating and also under relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The agency is probing the alleged irregularities in assigning of supply from Czechoslovakia-based Tatra, with which the agreement was originally signed in 1986, to Tatra-Sipox UK owned by Rishi in 1997 showing it as an original equipment manufacturer and fully-owned subsidiary of Czech company, which was against the provisions of Defence Procurement Procedure. The sources said the CBI was trying to find out why BEML officials signed an agreement with Tatra Sipox (Britain) hurriedly on June 14, 1997 in Bangalore, three days after they had a meeting with the firm and its associate companies' officials in Slovakia. 





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