Tatra case: CBI examines 3 senior BEML officials

The CBI sources said it was not a questioning but an examination to clarify the finer points of the truck supply deal with Tatra Sipox UK.

Updated: Apr 09, 2012, 18:58 PM IST

New Delhi: Three senior officials of the finance and vigilance wings of BEML were examined by the CBI on Monday regarding the case of alleged irregularities in the Tatra truck supply deal to the Army.

The three senior officials including the Finance head of the BEML were asked about different aspects by CBI officials to understand the nuances of the deal, CBI sources said.

They were also asked about prima facie discrepancies which have appeared from the scrutiny of documents and questioning of Vectra chairman Ravinder Rishi by the CBI last week, they said.

The sources refused to reveal the names of the officials as they are neither accused nor concerned with the alleged irregularities, they said.

The CBI sources said it was not a questioning but an examination to clarify the finer points of the truck supply deal with Tatra Sipox UK and subsequent changes made in it over the period.

The sleuths asked from the officials the reasons for signing of contract with Tatra Sipox UK which was not the original manufacturer in 1997 and its renewal in 2003.

They also asked the rules which could have been violated in doing so and whether such an action was in accordance with the procurement rules.

They were also asked about payments modes adopted for Tatra Sipox UK and where the payments were actually going, the sources said. The officials were also asked about the changing of currency from dollar to Euro in making payments to Tatra.

The agency had sought detailed documents from Defence Ministry on the deal which were received by it on Saturday, the sources said.

They said at present they are likely to send Letters Rogatory to UK seeking details of financial transactions of Tatra Sipox UK in which Vectra chairman Ravinder Rishi has been a Director, owning susbtantial shares.

The agency will also demand details of Tatra Sipox UK`s association with Czech-republic based Tatra a.s, they said.

Rishi has refuted allegations of any wrong doing and is said to be cooperating with the agency during his questioning sessions last week, the sources said.

They said it was in 1997 that Tatra Sipox UK signed the truck supply deal with 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 violated.

Meanwhile, Czech Republic-based Tatra a.s. had said in a statement that it supplies for India various truck components ("CKDs") that make up approximately 30 to 35 percent of a complete vehicle.

"The remaining components are made or supplied by other manufacturers or by BEML, an Indian government controlled company that also assembles the Tatra branded vehicles and then sells and delivers them to customers within India under license agreement for Tatra a.s," it had said in a statement.

It had also stated that neither Ravi Rishi nor his investment company Vectra Limited, control or have controlled -- directly or indirectly -- Tatra a.s. "The British company Vectra Limited is a minority stakeholder in Tatra holdings and in principle holds one of the four votes. Nonetheless, Tatra will request from Rishi and Vectra Limited an explanation of the information about any initiated investigation of him and Vectra Ltd by Indian Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as it relates to sales of products branded with the `Tatra` name," it had said.