FRIDAY, 20 APRIL 2012 00:16 PNS | NEW DELHI HITS: 263 – The Pioneer
Under VRS Natarajan, PSU giant BEML was involved in large scale irregularities that went beyond Tatra truck deal. The CBI on Thursday registered an FIR against him for cheating and criminal conspiracy in hiring a consultancy firm without tendering process.
The noose is fast tightening around Natarajan, who has been Chairman and Managing Director of defence PSU BEML for almost a decade, with the CBI set to more cases following sanction for prosecution granted by the Defence Ministry.
At least six complaints of alleged financial misdemeanour by Natarajan is under CBI scanner.
After registering a case against Natarajan and Director of Coimbatore-based Astral Consultants CS Srivatsan for allegedly tweaking tenders to favour the private firm by cheating BEML, the CBI conducted searches at the official and residential premises of the duo at Bangalore and Coimbatore.
Natarajan, Srivatsan and other unnamed persons have been booked under Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code and certain provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The case related to award of contract for the implementation of Enterprises Resource Planning Project in the public sector undertaking during 2004-09.
According to the CBI FIR, Natarajan and Srivatsan were part of alleged criminal conspiracy to award work worth Rs40 crore to Astral Consultants.
“It is alleged that the accused persons were parties to a criminal conspiracy entered amongst themselves at Bangalore and other places during 2004-09 to cheat M/s BEML in the matter of award of different works relating to the implementation of Enterprises Resource Planning Project in M/s BEML causing wrongful loss to M/s BEML and wrongful gain to others,” a CBI spokesperson said here.
Teams of CBI officials reached the Bangalore-residence of Natarajan, residence of Srivatsan, besides Coimbatore office of Astral and took into their possession some “incriminating” documents related to the tendering process and communications exchanged with the company, CBI sources said.
Natarajan is already facing CBI heat for his suspected role in a separate case regarding alleged irregularities in the procurement and supply of Tatra all terrain vehicles to Army. Natarajan has not been named so far in the Tatra procurement scandal case but the agency suspects that he was the mastermind of the entire scam.
The agency suspects that Natarajan in collusion with Vectra boss Ravi Rishi renewed the deal between BEML and UK-based Tatra Sipox in 2003, four years before the same was to be renewed, for supply of the all terrain vehicles to the Army. Tatra Sipox, according to the CBI FIR, was an intermediary firm and not an original equipment manufacturer. The original manufacturer of the Tatra trucks is Tatra Venus and defence procurement rules provide for procurement from OEMs only.