New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday filed a chargesheet against retired lieutenant general Tejinder Singh for his alleged involvement in irregularities in the proposed purchase of trucks for the army from Tatra Vectra Motors Ltd, a joint venture between the UK-based Vectra group and Czech firm Tatra Trucks.

A senior CBI official with direct knowledge of the matter said that in its chargesheet, the CBI has said that there is “circumstantial evidence" that Tejinder Singh had in September 2010 “offered to bribe" then army chief V.K. Singh, who is now a minister in the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government.

“Tejinder Singh made the offer when the file (dealing with the purchase of the trucks) was pending in V.K. Singh’s office," the CBI official said, citing contents of the chargesheet.

“Following this meeting, V.K. Singh had told his staff that Tejinder Singh should never be granted an appointment," the official said.

The official added that the trucks in question were never cleared by V.K. Singh.

V.K. Singh had said in an interview to The Hindu newspaper in 2012 that he was offered a bribe of 14 crore by a retired army officer to clear a batch of trucks. These revelations set off a spate of allegations from various quarters over defence deals. Following the interview, then defence minister A.K. Antony had ordered a CBI inquiry into the allegations.

In May 2014, the CBI had recorded the statements of Antony and T.K.A. Nair, an adviser to then prime minister Manmohan Singh.

“In the last one year, there have been dozens of reports that have clearly brought out that the CBI has found no evidence in the allegations made and the case was headed for closure. These media reports were based on information from the CBI," Tejinder Singh said over the phone. “With the change of the government, there seems to have been a change of heart in the authorities concerned, and this chargesheet is politically motivated."

Separately, in March 2012, the CBI had registered a corruption, cheating and criminal case against UK-based Vectra group and its chairman Ravinder Rishi for alleged financial irregularities related to the supply of trucks to the Indian Army.

CBI had also named officials of the state-owned defence firm BEML Ltd in its first information report. In February this year, the CBI had questioned former BEML chairmen and managing directors T.V.S. Shastra and V.R.S. Natarajan, along with four other company directors, in the case.

In 1986, BEML had entered into an agreement with Tatra for the supply of trucks for the army. Later, when the erstwhile Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the company was split.

Antony had sought an inquiry into the alleged irregularities in a deal to buy trucks for the army as far back as in 2009. Antony had in October 2009 asked the defence production secretary to “look into the various issues" raised in a complaint against BEML, which has a collaboration with Tatra Vectra.

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