BEML, Tatra dismiss graft charges
Defence public sector unit Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) and Tatra and Vectra Limited Thursday dismissed allegations that former Defence Intelligence Agency chief Lt Gen (retired) Tejinder Singh had offered Rs 14 crore bribe to army chief Gen VK Singh to clear an order for 600 Tatra trucks for the army, saying they had no such need to pay bribes as they were the only vendors for those vehicles.
BEML chairman and managing director VRS Natarajan told reporters that his public sector defence manufacturer was the only firm that produced this class of vehicles under licence from Tatra and Vectra and hence did not need to bribe anyone for getting orders.
"We are the nominated nodal agency for the defence ministry to manufacture this class of trucks and supply to the army," Natarajan told reporters on the sidelines of the four-day defence exposition that kicked off at the capital's exhibition venue Pragati Maidan.
Echoing similar sentiments, Czech Tatra's chief Ravi Rishi too said they would not approach any officer of the government for orders, as they had a contract directly with the BEML that has been licensed by his company to manufacture the trucks in India.
"The truck is manufactured by BEML with licence from us. We only supply some spares and using some indigenous spares, BEML builds the truck. We do not sell the trucks directly to the army or supply it to the defence ministry. It is the job of BEML," Rishi said.
The army had recently named Tatra as the firm for which Tejinder Singh was lobbying in a press release. The army headquarters had issued the release to counter allegations that the army chief had ordered the snooping of Defence Minister AK Antony and other security top brass at the peak of his age-related row.
The army release had claimed that the reports were appearing in the media at the behest of Tejinder Singh, whose bribe offer of Rs 14 crore to clear orders of 600 Tatra trucks was spurned by the army chief.