NEW DELHI: The CBI on Monday interrogated Vectra Group chairman Ravi Rishi at its headquarters here in connection with the alleged irregularities in the procurement of Tatra trucks by the Indian Army since 1997.
Two senior officers of the Vectra Group of Companies were also questioned by the investigating agency. It is learnt that the agency will quiz some senior officials of PSU Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) in the immediate future. UK-based Vectra Group has been procuring heavy duty trucks from military vehicle manufacturer Tatra, based in Czechoslovakia, and supplies them to BEML, based in Bangalore, which in turn supplies these trucks to the Army. Vectra Group is a majority stake holder in Tatra.
The CBI has already questioned British national Rishi twice, on Friday and Saturday, following which, the agency issued a lookout notice against Rishi to restrain him from leaving the country. The agency also seized various documents on Friday from Vectra Group and BEML pertaining to the procurements of the trucks.
The CBI started investigating the Tatra deal after Army Chief General V K Singh made a public statement a week ago that he had been offered a bribe of `14 crore by an individual, who recently retired from the Army, to clear a tranche of 600 sub-standard Tatra trucks. Later, in a letter written to the CBI, he named Lt. General Tejinder Singh.
He also said that he would get back to the CBI with more information pertaining to the procurement of the trucks. In a complaint filed by the CBI on Friday, Rishi has been made an accused along with unknown officials of Vectra Group, BEML, Indian Army and the Ministry of Defence. But the investigating agency is yet to register a case of bribery against Tejinder as it is awaiting more information from the Army Chief.
In recent statements made to the media, Rishi has claimed that Tatra trucks are of good quality and former army chiefs praised the trucks, which have been procured by the Army since 1986.
He also said that the allegations of the Army Chief were baseless.