More than a month after the suspension of Mr VRS Natarajan, BEML’s senior-most Director Mr P Dwarkanath has been recommended for appointment as its chairman and managing director.

Armed with the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PSEB) recommendation, the Defence Ministry will now initiate the process to get the sanction of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) for his elevation to head the organisation, official sources said.

At present, Mr Dwarkanath is working as the acting chairman and managing director after the suspension of Mr Natarajan as the chief of the PSU to ensure a fair probe in to the allegations of kickbacks in the Tatra truck deal made by former Army Chief Gen V K Singh in March this year.

The appointment will become effective only on October 1 as the tenure of the suspended chief Mr Natarajan ends on September 30.

Mr Natarajan, who headed the PSU for 12 years, was suspended in June a few days after the defence ministry issued a show cause notice to him for slapping a defamation notice against former Army Chief Gen VK Singh without its permission.

He has been questioned by the CBI in a case regarding alleged irregularities in procurement and supply of Tatra all-terrain vehicles to the Army.

Gen Singh, who retired on May 31 after holding the post of the Army chief for over two years, had alleged in March that he was offered a Rs 14 crore bribe by Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh to clear supply of a tranche of 600 “sub- standard” Tatra trucks from BEML.

Gen Tejinder Singh has denied the allegation against him.

On June 6, the defence ministry had sought an explanation from Mr Natarajan for serving a legal notice on Gen VK Singh demanding an apology for his alleged defamatory statements against the defence PSU on the Tatra truck issue.

The CBI has also booked the BEML chairman for alleged cheating, criminal conspiracy and corruption in connection with tendering process for hiring a private consultancy firm and carried out searches at several locations including his residence in Hyderabad.

(This article was published on July 22, 2012)
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