New Delhi, July 16 : The CBI has said former defence minister A.K. Antony, a witness in the Tatra truck case, admitted that former army chief Gen. V.K. Singh informed him of the bribe offer by Lt.Gen. Tejinder Singh for clearing the trucks’ purchase file. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Tuesday filed a charge sheet against retired army officer Tejinder Singh following V.K. Singh’s allegation of bribery offer over irregularities in the import of heavy-duty Tatra trucks for the Indian Army.
“A.K. Antony, raksha mantri (defence minister), in his statement in parliament March 27, 2012, and the one recorded under Section 161 CrPC during investigation, has confirmed having been informed by Gen. V.K. Singh about such offer of bribe made to him about 1-1.5 years ago by Lt.Gen. (retd.) Tejinder Singh,” the CBI said in its charge sheet which was made available to the media Wednesday. “During investigation, Antony admitted having been informed by Gen. V.K. Singh with respect to offer of bribe by Lt.Gen. (retd.) Tejinder Singh for clearing the Tatra trucks purchase file,” it said.
The CBI has submitted a list of 20 witnesses in the case – including Antony, Gen. V.K. Singh, then joint secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office Dheeraj Gupta, and then adviser to the prime minister, T.K.A. Nair. The investigating agency in its nine-page charge sheet claimed that facts proved Gen. V.K. Singh’s allegation that Lt.Gen. Tejinder Singh had offered him Rs.14 crore for clearing a tranche of “sub-standard” Tatra trucks for the army.
“(Gen.) V.K. Singh on July 27, 2010, had issued a letter to the then national security advisor recommending Lt.Gen. Tejinder Singh for the post of chief of national technical research.” “This was period that the chief of army staff (COAS) and Lt.Gen. Tejinder Singh had excellent working relations till the alleged offer to bribe was made by him to the COAS,” the CBI said.
It said that, however, after the date on which the bribe was allegedly offered, these two officers have not been in touch. The CBI said that “during investigation, (Gen.) V.K. Singh claimed to have recorded the alleged conversation between him and Lt. Gen. Tejinder Singh Sep 9, 2010. However, the same was not provided by him to the investigating agency despite efforts”. In March 2012, Gen. V.K. Singh alleged that Lt.Gen. Tejinder Singh met him Sep 22, 2010, and offered him the money on behalf of Vectra group owner Ravi Rishi to clear the file for procurement of 1,676 Tatra HMVs (High Mobility Vehicles) for the army.
The CBI filed a case against Lt.Gen. Tejinder Singh in October 2012 under Section 12 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. On the basis of Gen. V.K. Singh’s complaint, a preliminary inquiry was registered April 11, 2012. The agency had also carried out raids at seven locations in Delhi, Noida and Mumbai Oct 20, 2012.