BEML Ltd will issue a legal notice to former Army chief General V K Singh, seeking an apology for the allegations he levelled against the city-based defence public sector unit.
“We have consulted legal experts and decided to issue a notice to Singh. If he fails to respond to our notice or submit a public apology, then we will file a defamation suit against him for making derogatory remarks about the quality of Tatra trucks we supplied to the Army and making false claims on their price,” BEML chairman and managing director V R S Natarajan told reporters. This came a day after Singh retired as the Army chief.
Refuting the charges levelled by Singh, Natarajan said BEML had no role in the alleged Rs 14-crore bribe offer made to Singh by ‘somebody’ for clearing the order to sell additional 600 Tatra trucks to the Army.
“We emphatically refute all the charges made by the ‘great’ General against the company and the Tatra trucks the company has been supplying to the Army since 1986. At no point of time, the Army had earlier complained about the quality of the trucks and their operational functions,” Natarajan told reporters.
Accusing Singh of making false, motivated and damaging statements against the company at the fag end of his long service, Natarajan said the supply of Tatra trucks to the Army was in conformity with the procedures laid down by the defence ministry.
“It is unfortunate that the great Singh, holding the position of the Chief of Army Staff of this great country, made a shocking and false statement on the price and quality of Tatra trucks we have been supplying to the Army since the nineties,” Natarajan said. Singh had recently claimed Tatra trucks sold to the Army were not only grossly overpriced, but also sub-standard in terms of quality and operation. He had said the Tatra truck was priced at Rs 28 lakh in Czech, but when brought and sold in India, its price trebled to Rs 73 lakh to Rs 1 crore. Natarajan said the entire deal was executed with due diligence through the defence ministry.
Natarajan defended the delay in initiating the process for defamation against Singh, saying the company had to go through the process of seeking legal advice and then placing it before the board for approval. He said BEML had not received a single letter that Tatra vehicles were sub-standard, obsolete or overpriced.