BEML buying Tatra trucks despite CBI case
The government-run Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) continues to do business with Tatra Sipox (UK) limited of Ravindra Rishi and even sought a fresh lot of Tatra trucks at the price of Rs 59.6 lakh each in July, two months after the Central Bureau of India (CBI) registered a criminal case against the company.
This fact came out in the supreme court during a hearing on Wednesday on Vectra chief Rishi's petition to direct the CBI to withdraw a look-out notice issued against him and allow him to travel to the UK for medical treatment. The apex court, however, asked him to better approach the trial court for the relief.
His counsel Mukul Rohatgi revealed the new order placed by BEML on the UK firm for more trucks to assert that the CBI was trying to brand him as an offender while the PSU has no problems in dealing with his firm the agency wants to be blacklisted. Rohatgi produced a letter dated May 28 by a top-level BEML official seeking more Tatra trucks as also the UK firm's response seeking time up to January next to meet the additional requirement.
Though the court did not entertain the evidence to grant any relief to Rishi, it will certainly raise a question on the CBI dubbing the UK firm as not the subsidiary of the Tatra company based in Czechoslovakia but a separate agency which cannot make any defence supplies since the rules permit purchase of the defence material and equipment only from the original manufacturers.
The CBI's case is that Rishi had created multiple agencies in the UK as also in India in the name of Tatra Sipox to inflate the end price of the trucks. A question is how can a PSU carry on business with a person and his firm guilty of such a crime or is it because he has good relations in the defence ministry to ignore a CBI investigation.
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