TNN | Apr 14, 2012, 12.29AM IST
NEW DELHI: Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML), which is in the eye of the storm kicked up by the Army chief’s claim about a Rs 14-crore bribe offer, was preparing to supply 1,000 Tatra trucks in 2010 when General V K Singh stalled the entire acquisition.
Sources said BEML, the Bangalore-based defence PSU, had on the assurance of the then Master General of Ordnance (MGO) of the Army in 2010, had taken “advance action” for supply of 1,000 Tatra vehicles. All these vehicles were to of 6×6 and 8×8 variants.
It is not clear if Gen Singh refused clearance after September 22, 2010, the day he was allegedly offered the bribe by Lt Gen Tejinder Singh on behalf of Tatra.
Tatra truck purchases are usually sent by MGO directly to the ministry of defence (MoD), BEML later pointed out to the MoD. But in 2010, the Army chief had asked for the Tatra file and put the acquisition on hold. Instead, the Army moved a proposal to the Defence Acquisition Council, headed by defence minister A K Antony, for a competitive global tender for the purchase of 6×6 and 8×8 trucks.
The last order for Tatra trucks were placed with BEML in March, 2010, a few days before Gen VK Singh took over as the Army chief on March 31. The last order was for 788 vehicles out a total projected requirement of 3,296.
While the last order was placed by MGO Lt Gen Vinay Sharma, his successor told the BEML that there was no requirement for new vehicles to be acquired from revenue budget.
The Army is presently processing the global competitive tender, which could take several months to complete.
The forces’ stand on Tatra acquisition would be a key component of the ongoing CBI probe into Gen Singh’s allegation that he was offered Rs 14 crore bribe for clearing the purchase of Tatra trucks.
While many of the documents related to Tatra deal – from the Army HQ, MoD and BEML – have been handed over to the CBI, indications are that the agency is yet to get any ‘breakthrough’ documents to show corruption trail in the Tatra deal.
CBI officials would be meeting with Gen Singh, who was away in Punjab on Friday, for collecting further clarification to his written complaint about the bribe offer.