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Clean chit to Tatra trucks after army chief's allegations

Delhi,Defence/Security, Mon, 26 Mar 2012 IANS

New Delhi, March 26 (IANS) In the backdrop of Indian Army chief Gen V.K. Singh alleging that he was offered a bribe to approve a substandard vehicle order, the defence ministry Monday denied that there had been complaints about the quality of Tatra trucks that the military uses at present.


'We have never received complaints about the quality of Tatra trucks. They are all-weather trucks and can be used in forests and deserts ... and that is why they are different from ordinary trucks,' Rashmi Verma, joint secretary, land system, in the ministry, told reporters.



Verma was asked if the ministry had received any complaints about Tatra after the army chief alleged that he was offered Rs.14 crore bribe for clearing a tranche of 600 substandard vehicles.



However, the general had not named Tatra, which is being manufactured by state-owned Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) under licence from Czech-based manufacturer.



Another official, Shekhar Agarwal, secretary, defence procurement, said BEML would be participating in the upcoming high profile defence exhibition here that will showcase India's defence manufacturing prowess. The event will begin March 29.



'BEML will be participating in the Def Expo and among various products they make Tatra will also be on the display,' Agarwal said in his address to the media about the event that will be inaugurated by Defence Minister A.K. Antony.



The Army Headquarters had in a statement earlier this month alleged that a former Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) chief Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh had approached the chief with a bribe offer on behalf of Tatra and Vetra.



'This officer has also been an allottee in Adarsh Housing Society in Mumbai and has also offered bribe on behalf of Tatra and Vetra Limited, which supplies vehicles to BEML,' the army said, alleging that Tejinder Singh was the man who had spread rumours that V.K. Singh had bugged Antony's office.



'The (bugging) story has been put out by Tejinder Singh, who was the former DIA director general and who has been earlier questioned on the purchase of the 'Air Monitoring System' without sanction by the technically empowered committee,' the statement said.



However, Tejinder Singh has denied all the allegations.


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