BEML serves legal notice on ex Army chief



Bangalore: A day after Gen VK Singh retired as chief of Army, public sector BEML on Friday slapped a legal notice on him demanding an apology for his "false and motivated" allegations against it on the Tatra truck issue.

"Legal notice has been issued today. If he does not apologise, we may file a defamation suit against Gen VK Singh", BEML chairman and managing director VRS Natarajan told reporters here.

Gen Singh had alleged that he was offered a Rs 14 crore bribe by a former officer to clear supply of a tranche of 600 Tatra trucks into which the CBI is investigating.

"The former Army chief has made some allegations against BEML. As the CEO of the company, I deny them as absolutely false, motivated, damaging and defamatory", Natarajan said.

The CBI has registered a Preliminary Enquiry against retired Lt Gen Tejinder Singh on a complaint filed by Singh in which he has alleged that the retired Army officer had offered him the bribe for clearing a 'sub-standard' consignment of Tatra trucks.

Natarajan defended the delay in initiating the process for defamation against Singh saying the company had to go through the process of seeking legal advice and then placing it before the board for approval.

BEML has not received a single letter that the Tatra vehicles is sub-standard, obsolete or over-priced, Natarajan said.

Taking objection to Singh's allegations, Natarajan said, "It was wilfully made to damage BEML. The confidence built up in BEML has been demolished at one go."

He also had a dig at Singh for his claims that the Tatra Trucks were available for Rs 28 lakh in the Czech Republic where the vehicles are manufactured. "I don't know from where he got these figures", Natarajan said.

Natarajan rejected suggestions from a reporter that the bribe offer to get clearance for purchase of the trucks could not have happened without the BEML chief's knowledge.

"Nowhere in the communications that were exchanged between Singh and Ministry of Defence is the name of BEML traced".

Natarajan asserted "We are going to act decisively on this issue".

The BEML chief, who is facing allegations of using his influence to get allotment of sites to Prime Minister's Adviser TKA Nair's niece and a friend from BEML Housing Cooperative Society in Bangalore, said, "I am not the spokesman of the society".

When insisted on a response, he said, "BEML has nothing to do with the Cooperative Society for Credit, Provisions or Housing, which are managed by elected members".

"They acquire, develop and allot sites. (BEML) Management has nothing to do with it", he said, refusing to take further questions on allotment of sites to non-members of the BEML Housing Society.

Nair had rubbished the charge, saying "no irregularity or illegality" was involved in the land allotment by the Defence PSU society "to the best of my knowledge."

PTI