BEML Tatra deal faced objections from defence establishment

BEML-Tatra deal had faced objections from senior defence ministry officials over lack of indigenisation and other issues related to Czech all-terrain vehicles but still the PSU managed to keep on supplying them to army, CBI sources said today.

The sources in the agency, which is probing alleged irregularities in the deal, said one such instance was of Home Secretary R K Singh who, during his tenure at Defence Ministry, had objected to the way the agreement with Tatra Sipox UK was renewed by the BEML in 2003, three years before schedule.

Singh had also questioned poor pace of indigenisation of the Tatra vehicles even though BEML had a transfer of technology agreement with the supplying firm, they said.

They said the defence ministry was not very satisfied with the way BEML was functioning as far as the procurement and supply of Tatra vehicles was concerned but surprisingly the PSU kept the supplies on even after objections from officers like Singh.

Singh, who was Defence Production Secretary before taking up the present assignment as Home Secretary, had placed these objections on record in the form of a detailed note where he underlined the issues related to supply of Tatra vehicles.

CBI sources said they are also probing the "helping hands" of Tatra Sipox UK Director Ravinder Rishi in the defence ministry who ensured that the supplies of all-terrain vehicles from importer BEML continue to the Indian army.

The agency is probing alleged irregularities in supply from Czechoslovakia-based Tatra, with which the agreement was signed in 1986, to Tatra-Sipox UK owned by Rishi in 1997 showing it as original equipment manufacturer and the fully-owned subsidiary of the Czech company which was against rules, they said.

The agency has found that despite transfer of technology agreement with Tatra in 1986, the indigenisation of these vehicles remained far below satisfactory, they said.

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