After Gen Singh claimed to have been offered a bribe to clear the procurement of substandard Tatra trucks for the Army, the Congress now fears that the CBI probe will reach Rajiv Gandhi, after all it was he who chose Tatra trucks for the Army in a deal signed in 1986. He was the then Prime Minister and Defence Minister. Rajiv Rishi, a close friend of Rajiv Gandhi and businessman was the person who got the deal to purchase the high-technology Tatra trucks. [Read: Govt to force Indian Army chief to take early retirement?]
The Congress leadership is irked because the CBI probe decision on the bribery allegation was made without consulting them in the absence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the country. Antony is understood to have scribbled his directive on the press clipping on the bribery charge and asked the Defence Ministry to pass the matter to the CBI. [UPDATE: Ind Army scam:Cong restricts CBI to save Rajiv Gandhi's name]
A senior minister has been quoted as saying to a popular newspaper, "There is a proper way of ordering a probe. He could have consulted his senior-most colleague Pranab Mukherjee to set the terms and references for the probe." The party fears that, in the absence of terms and reference, the CBI may unveil minute details of the deal that may tarnish Rajiv's name.
With the Bofors deal continuing to haunt Rajiv Gandhi and family, the unthoughtful order for CBI probe on the Tatra truck deal may bring more trouble to the Congress first family. A Congress leader has been quoted as saying to the DNA, "He may be saving himself from facing the wrath of the opposition, but he has made the first family of the ruling party vulnerable."
There are reports that Gen Singh's expose disturbed Antony so much that he called the defence secretary from his Parliament house chamber and ordered a CBI probe. A source said, "He did not even call for the files to examine the deal." Congress loyalists are working overtime to make sure that the CBI does not name Rajiv during the course of the probe.
If the CBI digs deep, they will investigate if the truck supply deal received any special favours. It will also be looked if they were favoured more than their competitors. The deal for the Tatra trucks was made around the same time as that of the Bofors deal.