In a major development in the defence equipment deal scam, the CBI Kochi unit will examine the alleged involvement of Dr Solomon, a scientist employed with the Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE), a laboratory of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
‘Express’ on Wednesday had revealed details of the confession statement made by Subi Mally in which the involvement of the CVRDE scientist was revealed.
Officials informed Express that CBI’s Kochi unit is probing the involvement of officials employed with the Ordnance Factory at Medak in a deal for the supply of battle tank parts to the Steel and Industrial Forgings Ltd (SIFL), Thrissur and AMW-MGM Forgings, Mysore.
The investigation agency has not conducted any inquiry into the scientist’s involvement, as the deal in which he is implicated is not connected to the ongoing case being probed by the agency. “The office of the scientist is under the jurisdiction of another CBI wing. We will inform the details of the deposition made by Mally to the head quarters and the CBI wing concerned. The HQ will direct the concerned wing for appropriate action,” a CBI official said.
The revelation that a scientist affiliated to one of the most important defence research organisations had accepted kickbacks to facilitate AMW to win the tender for Arjun road wheels and wraps was shocking. Mally had deposed that the AMW-MGM consortium had won the tender through CVRDE. The entire process of placing orders and inspection was facilitated under the aegis of Dr Solomon, who had allegedly accepted Rs 150,000 from Mally.
In her confession statement, Mally had also stated that in August 2011 she met one Bandyopadhyay, who had given information about the tender to her. The information was that there would be a limited tender where just two parties - Steel and Industrial Forgings Ltd. (SIFL), Thrissur and AMW-MGM Forgings, Mysore - would participate. “Since I had just started getting orders from Ordnance Factory, Medak, I went to meet V K Panda, the then general manager of the factory and discussed the details,” she deposed. Panda assured that he will help in the formation of the cartel, if he were paid `3 lakh. Mally agreed to the deal in the presence of Ajith Rai, who is involved in the business of supplying rubber products to automobile and defence sectors.
Later, she got in touch with Muralidhar Bhagvat, former managing director of AMW-MGM Forgings and K R Mugilan, a manager in the same concern, to clinch the deal, Mally stated.