Tatra deal: MoD suspends BEML chief Natarajan



Tatra deal: MoD suspends BEML chief Natarajan Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: In a significant development, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Monday suspended VRS Natarajan, the Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Earths and Movers Limited (BEML)- a defence sector PSU, for his alleged role in the controversial Tatra deal.

The MoD suspended Natarajan following recommendations from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is probing the controversial Tatra trucks deal.

"The Government has put the CMD of BEML VRS Natarajan under suspension following a recommendation by the CBI that he should be kept away from the post to ensure fair investigation. The CBI is currently investigating into various charges against Natarajan," Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar told reporters.

"The charge of CMD has been given to P Dwarkanath, the senior most functional Director in BEML," he said.

Natarajan is under the CBI scanner after former Army Chief Gen VK Singh alleged that he was offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore by a former Army officer to clear supply of a tranche of 600 Tatra trucks from BEML.

It was after this, the case was handed over to the CBI.

Importantly, the Defence Ministry had on Wednesday sought an explanation from BEML chief for serving a legal notice on former Army Chief Gen VK Singh demanding an apology for his alleged defamatory statements against the defence PSU on the Tatra truck issue.

Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar told reporters that the Ministry has "asked Natarajan to explain as to why he made such a statement to the media."

On June 1, a day after Gen Singh retired from office, the BEML chief held a press conference in Bangalore asking the former Army Chief to apologise for alleged "defamatory" statements against the company and its products.

"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.

However, Singh refused to apologise to BEML saying that he had just stated the facts.