Tatra scam: CBI registers case against BEML chief

Bangalore/New Delhi: The CBI Thursday registered a graft case against state-run Bharat Earth Movers Ltd. (BEML) chairman and managing director V.R.S. Natarajan and searched his office and house in Bangalore for documents pertaining to hiring a consulting firm, whose director was also booked.

“The case against BEML CMD and a director of a Coimbatore-based company has been registered under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, and searches are being carried out in the office and residential premises of the accused,” the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said in a statement in New Delhi.

The case pertained to irregularities allegedly committed by the accused in the tendering process for hiring Astral Consulting Ltd., a company based in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore, to implement an enterprises resource planning (ERP) project, which led to a loss to BEML.

Searches were also conducted at premises owned by Astral Consulting Ltd. director C.S. Srivatsan in Tamil Nadu.

“The accused number one and two (Natarajan and Astral director) were parties to a criminal conspiracy entered during 2004-09 to cheat BEML in awarding different works relating to the implementation of ERP project causing loss to the company and gain to others,” the statement said.

A six-member CBI team also started interrogating Natarajan at his residence after seizing a number of incriminating documents from his office and residence.

“The searches began around 8 a.m. simultaneously and our officers are going through voluminous documents and files pertaining to the irregularities in the tendering process,” a CBI spokesperson told IANS in New Delhi.

A CBI official said in New Delhi that the accused were parties to a criminal conspiracy in Bangalore and other places during 2004-09.

A BEML official clarified that the search by the CBI had no connection with the controversial heavy duty Tatra truck deal, in which Army chief General V.K. Singh alleged March 26 that a retired lieutenant-general (Tejinder Singh) offered him a bribe of Rs.14 crore to clear the purchase of 600 ‘substandard’ all-terrain Czech vehicles.

IANS

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