NEW DELHI: Army Chief General V K Singh has alleged that a retired Army officer had offered him bribe of `14 crore on behalf of a foreign company to clear a file for the purchase of 600 sub-standard vehicles for the Army.
“Just imagine one of these men had the gumption to walk up to me and tell me that if I cleared the tranche, he would give me `14 crore. He was offering a bribe to me, to the Army Chief,” General Singh said, adding that people before him had taken money and they will take money after him as well.
General Singh said Defence Minister AK Antony was promptly informed about the issue and the minister had “banged his head”. However, senior defence ministry officials said the Army Chief had not preferred any formal and written complaint against the retired officer or against the foreign firm in question.
The initial allegations in this regard were made by the Army Headquarters on March 5. The Army Headquarters statement had read: “The present story (about Army trying to eavesdrop on telephonic conversation of politicians and bureaucrats in Delhi) has been put out by Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh, who was the ex-DGDIA and who has been earlier questioned on the purchase of the ‘Air Monitoring System’, without sanc tion by the technically empowered committee.”
The statement further said, “This officer has also been an allottee in Adarsh Housing Society in Mumbai and has also offered bribe on behalf of Tatra and Vectra Limited, which supplies vehicles to BEML.”
The Defence Ministry also questioned the Army Chief’s statement calling the vehicles sub-standard. Joint Secretary Rashmi Verma with the Ministry said: “There have been no quality complaints so far.
They (Tatra truck) are trucks of their own kind with flexible axle and can be plied in desert and all kinds of terrains.” The Army had begun inducting these trucks in 1986 from Czechoslovakian company Omni Pol and presently has 7,000 trucks in its fleet. With no makers of such vehicles in the country, the force has acquired the platforms without any competitive bidding.