The defence ministry has suspended Bharat Earth Movers Limited chairman and managing director, VRS Natarajan, following a recommendation by the Central Bureau of Investigation, which is probing the Tatra trucks deal.
“The government has put the CMD of BEML, Shri VRS Natarajan, under suspension following a recommendation by CBI that he should be kept away from the post to ensure fair investigation,” an MoD statement said in New Delhi on Monday.
His responsibilities have been given to P Dwarkanath, the senior-most functional director at BEML. BEML is a defence sector Public Sector Undertaking.
The Tatra trucks probe was handed over to CBI after then Army chief Gen VK Singh alleged that he was offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore by a former Army officer to clear supply of a tranche of 600 Tatra trucks from BEML. CBI is currently investigating various charges against Natarajan.
Earlier, Czech vehicle manufacturer Tatra Vectra had refuted the allegations denying having approached an Indian Army officer to offer him a bribe. On June 1, a day after Singh retired, Natarajan had held a press conference asking the former Army chief to apologise for ‘defamatory’ statements against the company and its products.
“The former Army chief has made some allegations against BEML. As the CEO of the company, I deny them as absolutely false, motivated, damaging and defamatory,” Natarajan had said. Singh had refused to apologise to BEML saying that he had just stated the facts.