Army chief bribery case: Antony orders CBI Probe

New Delhi:The government today ordered a CBI inquiry into the allegation made by Army chief Gen V K Singh that he was offered a Rs 14 crore bribe by a lobbyist. A CBI probe was ordered by Defence Minister A K Antony in the wake of the Army chief`s allegation, Defence Ministry officials told PTI here.

Terming Gen Singh`s allegations as "serious", Antony told reporters outside Parliament, "We have to handle it…I have taken action." When asked if the Army chief had informed him about the bribe offer, he said, "Parliament is in session."

In an interview to a newspaper, the Army chief alleged that an equipment lobbyist offered him a bribe of Rs 14 crore, which he had reported to the Defence Minister. He said the lobbyist offered him the bribe in order to have a tranche of 600 sub-standard vehicles of a particular make cleared for purchase.

"Just imagine, one of these men had the gumption to walk up to me and tell me that if I cleared the tranche, he would give me Rs 14 crore. He was offering a bribe to me, to the Army chief. He told me that people had taken money before me and they will take money after me," Gen Singh said.

Reacting to the allegation leveled by Gen Singh, BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi said, "Both the Defence Minister and the Army chief should have acted immediately. "It is a criminal act and nobody should be allowed to go scot free after offering a bribe," he told reporters outside Parliament.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said, "Whenever such allegation is leveled by any senior official, the government makes sure that it is clarified."

"He (Gen Singh) has said a very serious thing in his statement and every thing should be made clear in black and white," she said. On the statement of Gen Singh, former Army chief Deepak Kapoor said, "It is below my dignity to comment on the allegation."