Under attack over alleged inaction on corruption charges, government on Friday said Defence Minister A K Antony has ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into a case relating to public sector undertaking BEML even as inquiry was on into a complaint about an alleged scam in purchase of Tatra trucks.
An official release said that Antony's sanction for a CBI investigation was given in a case relating to BEML on February 21, much before a newspaper report was published on March 26.
On Monday, The Hindu had carried an interview of Army Chief Gen V K Singh who claimed that a lobbyist had offered him Rs 14 crore as bribe for clearing a deal for purchase of "sub-standard" vehicles of a particular make for the army.
Regarding a fresh controversy that Antony allegedly did not act on a 2009 complaint about a scam in the purchase of vehicles by BEML, the defence ministry release said after receiving a letter from ministerial colleague Ghulam Nabi Azad on October 5, 2009, the defence minister had asked secretary defence production to look into various issues raised in the complaint.
"Records show that the vigilance wings of ministry of defence and BEML are examining the matter and there are also correspondence between the CBI and the chief vigilance officer of BEML on these allegations," the release said.
Azad had forwarded the complaint of D Hanumanthapa, president of the Karnataka wing of All India Federation of SC, ST, Backward Class, Minority Employees Welfare Association on BEML addressed to Sonia Gandhi to Antony.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour in Rajya Sabha, Prakash Javadekar of the Bharatiya Janata Party questioned whether the minister was patronising corruption as no action has been taken against anybody though a probe was ordered two years back.
He rejected Antony's contention that he did not act on the Army chief's information on bribe offer in absence of any written complaint and claimed that a written complaint did exist.
"If the probe in Tatra trucks is continuing from 2009 to 2011, if it is not completed in two years, then this government and this Defence Minister are trying to cover up corruption. If you are patronising corruption, you have no right to remain in power. The defence minister should resign," Javadekar said.