According to sources, the government may ask the CBI to limit its investigation only to the matter of VK Singh's claim that he was offered Rs 14 crore bribe allegedly by another former general Tejinder Singh for buying low quality vehicles for the army. The CBI may not get permission to go further with their investigation into the Tatra trucks deal signed in 1986 during the Prime Ministership of Rajiv Gandhi.
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.
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.