BY ARUN AGRAWAL
The Tatra trucks scam beats every other scam known to this country. It is not the biggest in terms of money but in terms of the duration and the number of people involved, this scam beats every other scam. Also, it is not a one time scam but an ongoing one.
The scam did not commence in 1997 but dates back to 1986. For twenty five years it involved politicians, generals, bureaucrats and Public Sector Unit officers. And escaped detection!
The sheer number of people involved in the Tatra scam leaves little room for doubt that it is this deal which has upset those who are/were the beneficiaries and they have collectively conspired to oust the COAS General VK Singh on the date of birth issue.
It is in national interest that all those who were arraigned against him should be put under severe scrutiny for their links to the arms lobby and their assets along with that of their family made public. That includes the generals, past and present. In particular, those who set up the so called line of succession and the supporters of the succession theory.
Here are some of the vital unanswered questions related to this scam.
- Is it true that invoices exist to show that Ravi Rishi was selling Tatra trucks to India for Rs 75 lakh while purchasing them for Rs 25 lakh and thereby making 200% profit? (CNN-IBN, Kindly note it was not BEML which was profiteering. At best the CMD VRS Natarajan was a partner in the loot)
- Why did the government limit the investigation to the period of 1997 onwards? Why not 1986 when the deal was initially signed with OmniPol or Jan 1993 when Czechoslovakia split into two? Is it because even during the period of the deal with Omnipol Rishi was involved and was receiving commission which he was passing on to the powers that be?
- Is it true that before 1997, Rishi was collecting kickbacks from OmniPol through bogus export bills raised by him on OmniPol? Was this kickback money received from OmniPol shared with Rishi through WEN Exports Pvt Ltd? Which politician has a stake in WEN Exports, and also Venus Projects owned by Rishi?
- In which bank located in Connaught Circus did these accounts exist through which the kickbacks were collected?
- Who is the person related to an ex-Prime Minister of India who was both the beneficiary and go between of Rishi in India?
- Who is the BEML officer for whose benefit an account had been opened in Habib Bank in Zurich, Switzerland by Rishi? And other similar beneficiaries who have helped him loot this country?
- Why were the entire sale proceeds paid by BEML to Tatra Sipox in Britain sent to Liechtenstein by Rishi and not accounted for in Britain?
- Why did the honest Defence Minister not act on the complaint forwarded by Gulam Nabi Azad on behalf of Sonia Gandhi? Did the complaint go to him? Who was responsible for putting the complaint on the back burner? The minister or the bureaucrat?
- Why were two other complaints by insiders of BEML whistleblowers not acted upon by the Ministry?
- What was it that surprised Antony which made him beat his forehead (as stated by COAS and confirmed by the Hon’ble Minister in Parliament)? Was it the fact of the bribe offer or the fact that the COAS too had come to know about the Tatra truck scandal?
- Why did he not inform the COAS about the complaint forwarded by Sonia Gandhi? Was it because he did not know?
- Why did he tell the General that such firms should be kept out while his Ministry had failed to do so even after receiving the complaint from Sonia Gandhi much earlier?
- Is Antony being manipulated by the bureaucrats in the Ministry who wanted the Tatra deal to continue because they were on the payroll of the arms merchant Rishi? Or is Antony shielding his political superiors?
- Was it the bureaucrats and the corrupt former and serving Generals or Antony who wanted the tenure of the COAS to end one year in advance on the date of birth issue?
- How many generals were involved in the scam? Who are the powerful serving and retired army officers who are on the payroll of the arms merchants who have conspired against the present COAS? How many of them have been lobbying against the General through the media?
- Has Antony ever taken an independent stand on the date of birth of COAS or has he been merely endorsing the viewpoint of the vested interest and the Attorney General of India? Why could he not take a view on the basis of opinion of several ex-CJIs?
- Antony needs to answer the question as to why he named the successor to the COAS without disposing his December statutory complaint as directed by the Supreme Court. Is he a captive hostage while taking key decisions? If not, he should make public the file by which the recommendation was made for the current COAS and finally approved.
- Why was Brigadier (Retd) I M Singh transferred in 2003 for writing a letter inquiring into the Tatra deal and why was the letter withdrawn?Who were the persons involved in the transfer of Brig (Retd) Singh and why have the questions asked in 2003 not been answered till now?
- Is it not true that Lt Gen (Retd) SJS Saighal was appointed as Chairman of Global Vectra owned by Rishi so that he would lobby through his serving brother HS Saighal (who was DG Army Aviation) to recommend placing an order of over Rs 2000 crore to Global Vectra for purchase of helicopters by the Army?
- Who were the powerful people in Delhi who prevented action against VRS Natarajan when he was found to be involved in cheating, criminal breach of trust and falsification of accounts during investigations by CID at Hyderabad in a joint venture with Midwest Granite? What was BEML doing in entering into a joint venture with a private granite company for winning mining rights for coal abroad?
- Who is the 1979 batch Indian Foreign Service officer who had more than three dozen vigilance cases against him and who helped set up his international network of profiteering from sale of armaments based on corruption?
- Is it not true that Rishi benefited from former Joint Secretary (Defence) and now suspended IAS officer Arvind Joshi, from whose house Income tax sleuths had seized Rs. 3 crore in cash and papers showing assets to the tune over Rs. 300 crore in 2010. From where did this Rs 300 crores come and that of his relatives having another Rs 200 crores? Are these money for partnership in the crime of looting the country or held as benami for Rishi?
- And what is the story behind the stake of Rishi in India Exposition Mart Ltd, touted by the PM as an ideal example of PPP (private public partnership)?
The author has filed a complaint with Serious Fraud Office whose efficiency and treatment of informers is in sharp contrast to that of India’s CBI.
Rishi, though a British national, would like to stay back in India and will not like to go back to Britain as he too will have great faith in the legal process of India. Quotrocchi stayed in for a long time after Bofors, and so has Ashok Chauhan of Amity International who has an Interpol Red corner alert against him.
Who is doing the media management for Ravi Rishi? How much has Rishi spent on the media managers? Is that the reason that the entire focus of media reporting is on BEML and Natrajan?
(Arun Agrawal is the author of the book Reliance: The Real Natwar. The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Canary Trap or any employee thereof)