CBI expands Tatra probe, likely to send LRs to HK, Singapore

This is in addition to the four countries-- United Kingdom, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Lichtenstein -- where operations of Vectra Chairman Ravinder Rishi were traced and the agency had earlier planned to send Letters Rogatory, CBI sources said. 

The agency is likely to seek information from Hong Kong and Singapore about Venus Projects Hong Kong which held substantial shares, nearly 50 per cent till 2009, in Tatra Sipox UK which is already under CBI scanner in the deal, they said.

A British National, Rishi has been questioned a number of times by the CBI in connection with the case and based on documents accessed by the agency and his replies, the agency has decided to approach authorities of Hong Kong and Singapore as well, the sources said.

Rishi has refuted allegations of any wrong doing. CBI has alleged that Tatra Sipox UK signed the truck supply deal with defence PSU BEML which was in alleged violation of defence procurement rules which say that procurement should be done directly from original equipment manufacturer only.

The CBI has alleged that since Tatra Sipox UK was not the original manufacturer of these all terrain trucks, the rule that defence procurements should be made from original manufacturer was allegedly violated.

Meanwhile, the agency has found in its probe that the promised indigenisation of Tatra all-terrain trucks by BEML was very slow, the CBI sources said. The CBI has alleged in its FIR that although it was decided that BEML would do 100 per cent indigenisation of the Tatra trucks so that they could be produced in India but the PSU could achieve only 40 per cent of the objective.

After the division of Czechcoslovakia, BEML had entered into deal with Tatra Sipox UK in 1997 which had allegedly nothing to do with Czech Republic based Tatra a.s or Slovakia based Tatra Sipox AS, they said. This contract was renewed in 2003, four years ahead of scheduled renewal of 1997 contract with Tatra Sipox UK, the sources said.

During the probe, the CBI has also found that supply of spares was allegedly erratic and a large number of trucks remained unused because of lack of spare parts.

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