Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, President Pratibha Patil, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Defence Minister A K Antony knew about the Tatra-Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) deal that was allegedly tainted with kickbacks, said a leader from Karnataka.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (L) and the President of the Indian National Congress, Sonia Gandhi
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (L) and the President of the Indian National Congress, Sonia Gandhi. Reuters

President of the Karnataka wing of the All India Federation of SC/ST/Backward Class and Minority Employees Welfare Association D Hanumanthappa is now making headlines by this startling revelation that has piled up more troubles on Congress's side.

Hanumanthappa said that he had written a letter to the Prime Minister, President, Union Ministers and Congress president Sonia Gandhi regarding the deal.

This comes in the wake of the Army Chief's, (VK Singh's), revelation that he was offered a bribe to okay the purchase of 600 sub-standard trucks by an equipment lobbyist.

Meanwhile, raising the grave concerns over the integrity in the defence sector, he added about 7000 trucks of which were already in use in the Army, had been sold over the years at exorbitant prices with no questions asked.

Meanwhile, refuting a newspaper report, the Defence Ministry issued a statement that said: "A day after receiving a letter from Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, on 05 Oct 2009, forwarding the complaints of Dr. D Hanumanthappa, addressed to Congress President Smt. Sonia Gandhi on BEML, the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony had asked the Secretary (Defence Production) to look into the various issues raised in the complaint."

"Records show that the vigilance wings of MoD and BEML are examining the matter and there are also correspondence between the CBI and Chief Vigilance Officer of BEML on these allegations."

"Meanwhile, the Defence Minister has accorded his sanction for a CBI investigation on 21 Feb 2012 in another case relating to BEML, much before a newspaper report was published on 26 Mar 2012," the Defence Ministry said.

According to a DNA report, in August 2009, Dr D Hanumanthappa, president of the Karnataka wing of All India Federation of SC/ST/Backward Class and Minority Employees Welfare Association, "wrote to Congress president Sonia Gandhi stating that VRS Natarajan (BEML CMD) placed an order worth Rs 6,000 crores for Tatra trucks from a UK agent and not from the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) in violation of defence procurement guidelines."

However, while commenting on the latest row, BEML chairman and managing director VRS Natarajan rubbished the entire allegation at a press conference on Friday.

He said that the high prices of trucks were justified by its technology. He added that the trucks were of world-class quality and above comparison.

(With inputs from IBNS)