CBI carries out searches in Noida, Delhi in Tatra case

The investigating agency searches three locations in Noida and the national capital in connection with its probe into alleged irregularities in the procurement and supply of Tatra all terrain vehicles to the Army

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday carried out searches at three locations in Noida and the national capital in connection with its probe into alleged irregularities in the procurement and supply of Tatra all terrain vehicles to the Army, reports PTI.

Three teams of the agency officials reached residences of two retired officials from the Army and an official of Vectra early this morning and took into their possession some crucial documents related to the deal, the CBI sources said.

The CBI has again called BEML Chairman VRS Natarajan and Vectra Chairman Ravinder Rishi for questioning today, they said. Both were questioned yesterday also.

The agency has registered a case naming Mr Rishi and unnamed officials of the defence ministry, Army and BEML on 30th March for alleged criminal conspiracy, cheating and also under relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The agency is probing alleged irregularities in assigning of supply from Czechoslovakia-based Tatra, with which the agreement was originally signed in 1986, to the Tatra-Sipox UK owned by Mr Rishi in 1997 showing it as an original equipment manufacturer and the fully-owned subsidiary of Czech company, which was against the provisions of Defence Procurement Procedure, the sources said.

"In continuation of the aforesaid conspiracy to cause undue benefit to the UK-based company, the unknown officials of the Defence PSU allowed change of currency from US Dollar to Euro and further by not levying the Liquidated damages, thereby causing further loss of Rs13.27 crores," the CBI spokesperson had said.

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Public Interest Exclusive
Mumbai lifeline: Local train services in Mumbai hit by midnight fire

The central railway trains were affected after a fire broke out around at two signalling cabins

Local trains on Mumbai's main Central line were running about 45 minutes late this morning, sending the metropolis into a rush hour crisis. This was caused by a fire last night at the Kurla and Vidyavihar signalling cabins damaging some equipment.

The fire, which broke out at midnight, was brought under control soon. But the damage to the equipment meant that trains had to be piloted manually this morning at three or four signals between Kurla and Vidyavihar causing the peak hour delay.

Early morning commuters affected by the delay protested angrily saying the authorities had not shared information or made announcements.

Of the seven million people who commute daily on Mumbai's local trains, close to four million use the main Central line every day. It connects people from far flung suburbs of central Mumbai like Kalyan, Dombivali, Thane to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST). Some key stations on this line are CST, Dadar, Ghatkoper, Thane and Kalyan. Several trains connecting Mumbai to Pune have also been affected

"We are trying to find out the reasons for the mishap. The signalling equipment has been damaged badly," said S Malegoakar, the Chief Public Relations Officer of the Central Railway.

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Mining firms in Goa asked to give details of daily operations

As per the order, the mines will have to provide details like the number of trucks ferrying the iron ore on a daily basis, information about ships and their carriage capacity, among other things

Panaji: The Mines and Geology Department in Goa has issued orders to the mining firms in the state to provide details of their daily operations, thereby making it easy for the government to keep a tab on exports, reports PTI

The newly-appointed director of the Mines and Geology Department, Prasanna Acharya, has asked the mining lease holders to submit daily reports about the transportation of iron ore from the mining sites.

As per the order, the mines will have to provide details like the number of trucks ferrying the iron ore on a daily basis, information about ships and their carriage capacity, among other things.

The department has also directed the mining firms to submit information about the royalty challan payments, so that the records available at the ports could be tallied.

Mr Acharya has said that steps are being taken to streamline the matters concerning mining, transportation and storage of iron ore.

In a different order, the department has asked the mining firms to keep only one exit for all the trucks ferrying iron ore from the extraction sites to the riverfront jetties, so that keeping a tab on the transportation would be easy.

According to the order, the mining lease holders will also have to submit all the documents pertaining to the leases.

The mining leases, signed during the Portuguese regime, are in Portuguese language and Mr Acharya has asked these firms to get them translated into English before submission to the state government.

To check whether the mining leases have not gone beyond their designated geographical limits, they have also been asked to submit their survey number and also the Global Positioning Survey (GPS) coordinates.

The order, which was issued on Monday, has set a deadline of 15 days time for the lease holders to submit this document to the state government.

The Manohar Parrikar government has put a regulatory mechanism on the mining leases, which had become a hub for illegal trade over the years.

The state government says that it has decided that the ore leaving the lease area should be accounted for and not a single gram of ore would be allowed to be extracted illegally.

Goa is the largest exporter of iron ore in the country. The state had witnessed massive illegal mining scam, which was estimated between Rs1,200 crore to Rs10,000 crore.

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