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Tatra case: CBI confronts BEML Chief, Vectra Chairman

New Delhi: The CBI, for the first time, today questioned BEML Chairman V R S Natarajan and Vectra Chairman Ravindra Rishi together in connection with alleged irregularities in procurement and supply of Tatra all-terrain trucks to the Army. Rishi, Natarajan and former BEML Director (Defence Procurement) V Mohan arrived separately at CBI Headquarters in the morning and were questioned by the sleuths for nearly five hours about the deal and supply of trucks, CBI sources said.

Mohan, who was the Director, Defence Procurement from 2007 to 2011, has been asked to provide some documents regarding the procurement of components from Tatra Sipox UK owned by Ravinder Rishi, they said. British national Rishi was questioned for the eighth time during last fortnight. He has refuted allegations of any wrong doing in the supply of truck components which were assembled by the BEML to be supplied to army.

CBI has registered a case naming Rishi and unnamed officials of Defence Ministry, Army and BEML on March 30 for alleged criminal conspiracy, cheating and relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act. CBI is probing alleged irregularities in assigning of supply from 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 Czech company which was against the provisions of Defence Procurement Procedure, they said.

"In continuation of the aforesaid conspiracy to cause undue benefit to the UK-based company, the unknown officials of the Defence PSU allowed change of currency from US Dollar to Euro and further by not levying the Liquidated damages, thereby causing further loss of Rs 13.27 crores," the CBI spokesperon had said.

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