Businesswoman held for Thrissur-based Steel and Industrial Forgings 'battle tanks' deal

Tata steel

A Mumbai-based businesswoman, who allegedly mediated in a deal between Thrissur-based Steel and Industrial Forgings Ltd (SIFL) and various ordnance factories for supplying components of battle tanks, has been arrested, CBI sources said today.

The arrest last night, the first in the case, followed after Subi Malli, who was being interrogated, allegedly refused to cooperate, CBI sources said.

She was being questioned by CBI during the past few days.

Malli has been charged with conspiracy, corruption and causing loss to the exchequer. She had allegedly received Rs 18 lakh as commission from SIFL for mediating in the deal, the sources said.

CBI had registered FIR against three persons-- M Shahnavaz, Managing director of SIFL, the company senior manager, Valsan and Malli for allegedly colluding with some officials of Heavy Vehicles factory at Avadi and bagging contracts at highly inflated rates, causing loss to the state exchequer.

Some unknown persons of the Avadi unit have also been mentioned in the case, CBI sources said. The allegation against the accused is that SIFL officials conspired with Malli to influence the public servants of Defence establishment at Avadi and bagged some contracts at highly inflated rates and cheated the exchequer.

The case was registered after searches were conducted on January 15 and 16 at the residences and premises of the suspects in Kerala, Mumbai, Avadi and Hyderabad.

SIFL is a regular supplier of road wheel arm and flange used in the manufacture of artillery tanks.

It is alleged that Malli got in touch with officials of SIFL regarding supply made to the Ordnance factory at Madek in Hyderabad in January last year. SIFL's tender was at first rejected and the same product was retendered quoting a higher price and the company managed to secure the contract.

The deal came to light after the director board of SIFL raised objection to granting of commission.

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