NEW DELHI: The CBI questioned Vectra group chairman Ravi Rishi for over four hours at its headquarters in connection with alleged irregularities in the supply of Tatra trucks to the Indian Army.
The agency is looking into all aspects of the Tatra deal as part of the investigation, including Vectra’s complex shareholding pattern.
The CBI officials said the deal pertaining to the supply of Tatra trucks to the Army was a complex one. Hence, to get to the details they are studying documents related to the procurement and shareholding pattern, a process that may take several weeks to complete.
“It is not that we will question some people and the investigation is over. We will have to go through the seized documents in detail to find out the lacunae in the procurement process,” said a CBI official.
The Tatra trucks are made in Czech Republic and Slovakia. While Tatra Slovakia makes the undercarriage of the trucks, the cowl, cabin and engine are made by Tatra Czech Republic. These trucks are sold to Bangalore-based PSU Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) as completely knocked down (CKD) kits through UK-based Vectra. After that the BEML assembles the trucks and supplies them to the Army. The Vectra, with Rishi as chairman, owns the Tatra Slovakia and is known to have a majority stake in the Tatra Czech Republic. Since, 1986, over 6,500 trucks have been sold by Tatra to the Indian Army.
The Vectra group started acquiring shares in Tatra in 1993. The SDC International, a company based in the US, bought the Tatra from the Czech Government in 2001. Later, Terex, another US company bought stakes in Tatra.
In 2006, a US private equity firm, Vectra group and KBC Private Equity bought over 80 per cent shares of the Tatra.
The CBI is planning to ask for documents from the Vectra headquarters in London to further probe into Vectra shareholding history with the Tatra to come to decipher the ‘irregularities’ in the recruitment process. Rishi has already been questioned by the CBI on Friday, Saturday and Monday. On Friday, CBI registered a case of cheating and forgery against Rishi and unknown officials of the Messrs Vectra, BEML, Army and Ministry of Defence, following which the investigation agency issued a look-out notice against Rishi.