New Delhi: Former Defence Minister A K Antony has “admitted” that then Army Chief Gen V K Singh had informed him about alleged bribe offer by Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh for clearing the file for purchase of 1,676 Tatra trucks at a cost of Rs 1193.04 crores, the CBI has told a court here.
The agency has stated this in its charge sheet filed against Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh, who is accused of offering Rs 14 crore as bribe to the former Army Chief who is now a Minister of State of External Affairs and Minister of State incharge of Department of Northeast Region.
“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 has 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 has said in its nine-page charge sheet.
Tejinder Singh has been chargesheeted for the offence punishable under section 12 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
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 has filed a set of 18 documents along with the charge sheet.
CBI also said 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” on it.
The agency, in its charge sheet, has 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.”
CBI said that V K Singh had said that on September 22, 2010, during a meeting at his office here, he was allegedly offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore by Tejinder Singh to clear the file for procurement of Tatra trucks by the first week of October.
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 Organization (NTRO). 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 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 claimed.
The agency also 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 abovementioned 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 claimed.
CBI 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 said.
The court has now fixed the charge sheet for consideration on August 16.
A case was lodged by CBI against Tejinder Singh on October 19, 2012 following complaint by Gen V K Singh.