Tatra truck deal case: Court summons Tejinder Singh

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 28 2014, 19:04pm hrs
Taking cognisance of CBI's chargesheet, a special court today summoned Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh on September 1 for allegedly offering Rs 14 crore bribe to then Army Chief Gen V K Singh for clearing file pertaining to procurement of 1,676 heavy mobility Tatra vehicles.

Special CBI judge Madhu Jain took cognisance of the charge sheet and relied upon statements of former Defence Minister A K Antony, V K Singh and other witnesses whose testimonies were recorded by the agency during the probe.

"I have gone through charge sheet and statements of Gen (retd) V K Singh, Major Gen J P Singh the then military assistant of the COAS, A K Antony the then Defence Minister to and other witnesses, published Rajya Sabha debate dated March 27, 2012 in which Antony has stated in the upper house that Gen V K Singh had informed him about the bribe offered by Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh and other relevant documents.

"On the basis of material on record, there is sufficient ground to take cognisance of offence under section 12 (abetment of offence) of Prevention of Corruption Act... though offence under section 7 (public servant taking gratification other than legal remuneration in respect of an official act) of PC Act was not committed in consequence of the said abetment and I accordingly take cognisance under section 12 of PC Act," the judge said, while summoning Tejinder Singh as an accused on September 1.

During the arguments on consideration of the charge sheet, senior public prosecutor V K Sharma had told the court that there was sufficient evidence to take cognisance and summoned the accused.

The CBI in its charge sheet had alleged that in the month of August-September 2010, the file pertaining to procurement of 1,676 Tatra vehicles was pending before V K Singh, who is now a Minister of State of External Affairs and Minister of State in-charge of Department of Northeast Region.

The then Chief of Army Staff (COAS) was not convinced with the total projected requirement of the vehicles and it appeared to him that the requirement has been inflated, the agency had said, adding V K Singh had sought fresh opinion on the issue from different quarters.

In its charge sheet, the CBI alleged that Tejinder Singh met V K Singh in his office in South Block on September 22, 2010, and during the meeting, he offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore to V K Singh for clearing the file of Tatra vehicles by first week of October.

V K Singh got infuriated and asked Tejinder Singh to immediately leave his office and he, thereafter, intimated A K Antony about the whole incident of bribe being offered to him, the CBI had said.

"A K Antony, Raksha Mantri, in his statement in Parliament on March 27, 2012 and the one recorded under section 161 CrPC during investigation, has confirmed having been informed by Gen V K Singh about such offer of bribe made to him about one to one-and-a-half-year ago by Lt Gen(retd.) Tejinder Singh," CBI had claimed in its charge sheet.

"During investigation A K Antony admitted having been informed by Gen V K Singh with respect to offer of bribe by Lt Gen (retd.) Tejinder Singh for clearing the Tatra trucks purchase file," CBI had said in its nine-page charge sheet.

CBI has arrayed 20 prosecution witnesses, including A K Antony, T K A Nair, the then advisor to the Prime Minister, and V K Singh and the agency had filed a set of 18 documents along with the charge sheet.

CBI has said in the charge sheet that according to V K Singh, when he had reported the incident about alleged bribe offer by Tejinder Singh, the then defence minister had "expressed shock" over it.

It had alleged that during the probe, the former Army chief had claimed to have recorded the alleged conversation between him and Tejinder Singh on September 22, 2010 but "the same was not provided by him (V K Singh) to the investigating agency despite efforts."

The CBI also claimed that before the alleged bribe offer was made, Tejinder Singh and V K Singh had "excellent working relations."

"General V K Singh on July 25, 2010 (on request of Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh) had issued a letter to S S Menon, National Security Advisor (NSA), recommending Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh for the post of Chief of National Technical Research Organisation. This proves that the COAS (V K Singh) and Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh had excellent working relations till the alleged offer of bribe was made by him to the COAS," the charge sheet had said.

"However, after the date on which the bribe was allegedly offered, these two officers have not been in touch. This is another circumstance to prove some unpleasant interaction on the date the offer was made," it had claimed.

The agency had alleged that the complaint and statement given by V K Singh was "duly corroborated" by the chain of circumstances which proved that Tejinder Singh had offered him bribe of Rs 14 crore to clear file relating to Tatra trucks.

"The complaint/statement of Gen V K Singh has been duly corroborated by above mentioned chain of circumstances vide which it is proved that Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh met Gen V K Singh, COAS, at his South Block office on September 22, 2010 and made an offer of bribe of Rs 14 crores to him for clearing the file relating to procurement of Tatra vehicles which had been pending since July 9, 2010.

"These act on the part of Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh constitutes offence punishable under section 12 of Prevention of Corruption Act," it had claimed.

CBI had also said that on September 22, 2010, the decision on the file relating to procurement of Tatra trucks was pending as V K Singh had sought comments of various senior officers on it.

"Therefore, there were cogent reasons for a conspiracy to be hatched to get the file of Tatra trucks cleared from COAS," it had said.

A case was lodged by CBI against Tejinder Singh on October 19, 2012 following complaint by V K Singh.