The Tatra Truck purchase scandal involving Vectra Group promoted by arms dealers late Ravi Rishi and fugitive Sanjay Bhandari refuses to die though the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Ministry of Defence wanted to close the case. The trial Court slammed the CBI and Ministry of Defence of trying to close the case by not supplying the basic documents like Defence Procurement Manual of 2006 as demanded by the Court.
In a stern order, the trial Court has asked CBI’s Joint Director to report by January 14 on the UPA regime’s scandal of purchasing Tatra Trucks for the Indian Army for many decades in a dubious way through the Benami firm Vectra Group.
In a strongly worded Order blaming the CBI and Defence Ministry, the trial Court Judge Pulastya Pramachala said: “The report filed by the HIO(Head Investigating Officer) today shows that CBI has now literally surrendered, as far as obtaining this manual, which was relevant at the relevant time, is concerned. Therefore, I need to know the stand of CBI in respect of the aforesaid question raised by me. A specific report in respect of aforesaid question shall be filed on the ext date. Copy of this Order be handed over to HIO, who shall deliver it upon concerned Joint Director and it is expected that a complete inquiry shall be made by responsible officers before filing any report to this court.”
The detailed order of Special Judge Pulastya Pramachala on November 26, 2019, is published below this article. The billion-dollar question is why the Defence Ministry and the CBI tried to protect the Vectra Group owners Ravi Rishi and Sanjay Bhandari in the Tatra Truck purchase in a dubious way. Why? This Tatra Scandal was brought out by the then Army Chief General V K Singh in 2011. The country was shocked when General V K Singh revealed that one Lt. General Tejinder Singh offered him Rs.14 crores to approve the Tatra Trucks.
The Tatra Trucks scandal
One of the finest Military vehicles, Tatra Trucks was produced by Czechoslovakia and suppled to India and many countries for decades. After the country’s disintegration in the early-90s, controversial arms dealer Ravi Rishi’s Vectra Group continued involving in this purchase though his firm hiking the rates of trucks from the disintegrated and newly formed Czech Republic. Instead of country to country purchase, the Ravi Rishi and Sanjay Bhandari run firm Vectra was diverting purchases through them at an escalated price to India (i. e. over-invoicing them). London-based Rishi was at that time very close to many Congress leaders including Sonia Gandhi and they used to meet at the Chanakyapuri Church as and when he landed in Delhi. PGurus have done a detailed series on these shoddy business deals of Vectra Group which continues to get offset contracts from the Defence Ministry.
Ravi Rishi (now deceased) and fugitive Sanjay Bhandari’s Vectra Group was helped by jailed Finance and Home Minister P Chidambaram in many ways. Vectra Group was the Helicopter supplier to the Home Ministry and the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Chidambaram cleared the files despite Intelligence Bureau’s alert that Ravi Rishi was involved in Russian Intelligence spy scandal. Now Vectra Group is operating through Ravi Rishi’s daughters Suruchi Rishi, Swati Rishi, Rati Rishi and son Hemang Rishi, and wife Dipti Rishi. They are still involved in getting many offset contracts from Defence Ministry and Helicopter deals through shell firms.
The question is why did the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government ask CBI to close the Tatra case in August 2014, which they used politically to attack the Congress regime? The answer is the then Defence Minister Arun Jaitley. He was a good friend of Ravi Rishi and they were neighbours in Kailash Colony. Jaitley’s home is A-44 and Ravi Rishi’s home is A-54 in Kailash Colony. Anyway, both are no more now. Rishi was a very good host and would arrange all kinds of wealth and pleasures in life to Indian politicians, top officers landing in London for several decades. Our London-based researchers have unearthed a lot of communications and photos in this regard.
Using the CBI closure report of August 2014, Ravi Rishi again started entering into Defence deals (soon after Kailash Colony neighbour Arun Jaitley became the Defence Minister) with some offset contracts. Ravi Rishi, suffering from cancer later passed away in mid-2016. Former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi was Ravi Rishi’s counsel against the CBI. How the CBI closure report, which was not yet approved by the trial Court for more than five years is used as a fake clean chit and allowed this company to enter defence deals is a billion-dollar question.
The detailed order of Special Judge Pulastya Pramachala on November 26, 2019, is published below:
 Court pulls up MoD, CBI for not following basic rules – Nov 30, 2019, The Economic Times