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CBI questions army chief over bribe offer claim

Delhi,Defence/Security, Fri, 20 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi, April 20 (IANS) The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Friday recorded Indian Army chief General V.K. Singh's statement at his South Block office following the allegation that a retired officer had tried to bribe him in 2010 to clear a tranche of substandard vehicles.


CBI sources said the general was questioned by the team led by a deputy inspector general (DIG) for about two hours at his South Block office after the meeting began around 10.30 a.m.



'The CBI team met Gen. Singh at his South Block office and spoke to him for about two hours, seeking clarifications regarding his allegation that he was offered Rs.14 crore bribe to clear substandard military equipment,' a source, privy to the meeting, told IANS.



The army chief in a letter to the CBI had alleged that a retired officer, Lt. Gen. Tejinder Singh, had met him at his office Sep 22, 2010, and offered a bribe of Rs.14 crore on behalf of Vectra group chairman Ravinder Rishi for clearing a deal of substandard Tatra trucks for the army.



The sources said that a questionnaire was sent to the army chief in advance. Among other things he was asked what action he initiated when he was offered bribe nearly two years ago.



He was also asked to share 'hard evidence', if any, to substantiate his allegation.



'More importantly,' the source said, 'V.K. Singh was asked why he delayed the complaint and reported about the bribery offer two years later.'



The CBI has not registered any first information report (FIR) on the basis of the army chief's allegation. The agency is conducting its preliminary probe to find more evidence before registering the case.



The sources said V.K. Singh had earlier promised to share hard evidence with the CBI but had not done so, 'at least before the (Friday) questioning'.



The army chief made the allegation in a media interview stirring a major row following which Defence Minister A.K. Antony ordered the CBI to probe the matter 'comprehensively'.


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