Even before General V K Singh starts enjoying his life after retirement, Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) has stated that it has issued a defamation notice to Singh for the allegations made in connection with the controversial Tatra truck deal.
BEML Chairman and Managing Director V R S Natarajan said they would be forced to take legal action if the former Army Chief did not publicly apologise for his “damaging and defamatory” remarks.
Asked why they waited until General Singh’s retirement to serve the notice even though the allegations were made months ago, Natarajan reluctantly replied that they had to seek legal advice on the issue and that they would keep this precedent for future reference.
Terming General Singh’s allegations false and motivated, Natarajan launched a scathing attack on him for his recent statements about the “wrongdoings” in BEML. “I am puzzled why a man of his stature would make such statements,” said Natarajan, who repeatedly referred to him as “the great V K Singh” in a sarcastic tone.
Natarajan also trained his guns on the media for the recent “reports of misappropriation and irregularities”. “Are you dying for news?,” he asked, and assured that BEML would respond to all queries within 48 hours. “His (Singh’s) statements demolished 48 years of (our) reputation,” he said.
General Singh had said the truck was available for `28 lakh in Czech Republic, but was sold to India at over `75 lakh, and that he was offered `14 crore as bribe to clear 600 “sub-standard” vehicles by Lt Gen (Retd) Tejinder Singh. “I don’t know where he got these numbers from,” Natarajan said, and refuted any claims that their flagship product, WZT-3 Armoured Recovery Vehicle (ARV), was “absolutely useless” as stated by General Singh.
He said Bumar, a Polish company, had been supplying ARVs since 1999, and they had recently got an order for $275 million for supply of over 200 ARVs. Though they would be 100 per cent imported, BEML would try to indigenise 30%-35% of them. Singh had also said BEML was “making huge profits” through the supply of ARVs.