CBI may make "some significant arrests" in Tatra case



New Delhi: Armed with "some crucial" evidence, the CBI is likely to make "some significant arrests" soon in connection with its probe into alleged irregularities in the procurement and supply of Tatra all-terrain vehicles.

CBI officials, who carried out an on-site verification of BEML facilities in Bangalore for the production of Tatra vehicles, have gathered "some crucial" evidence which indicate alleged involvement of some senior officials of the public sector undertaking, sources said.

The sources said based on the report of the officials, the agency will soon call BEML Chairman VRS Natarajan, Vectra Chairman Ravinder Rishi and other former senior officials of BEML for questioning.

They said after another round of questioning, the agency may make "some significant arrests" in connection with the case within 10 days.

Natarajan and Rishi have already been questioned by the agency in connection with the case.

Both have refuted allegations of any wrong-doing in connection with the case.

During the inspection, the CBI officials found "very primitive level facilities" where "so-called indeginisation" of vehicles takes place for the supplying them to Indian Army, the sources said.

They said despite the clause of indigenisation and upgradation of technology in the original agreement signed with Tatra a.S, the indigenisation process remained way behind satisfactory levels The sources said the trucks, which are now assembled by the BEML and supplied to the Army, have "not performed well in higher altitude and despite red flags raised by Army several times, the PSU continued supplying older technology vehicles."

The CBI sources said the DRDO also procured vehicles from Tatra for its missile systems which fared much better than those procured by the Army through the BEML.

The agency is probing alleged irregularities in assigning supply from the Czechoslovakia-based Tatra, with which the agreement was originally signed in 1986, to the Tatra-Sipox UK owned by Rishi in 1997 showing it as Original Equipment Manufacturer and the fully-owned subsidiary of the Czech company which was against rules, they said.

PTI