September 15, 2016 5:56:05 pm
CBI has started analysing the reference received from the Defence Ministry asking it to look into allegations of corruption in the purchase of three Embraer aircraft for Defence Research and Development Organisation in 2008.
The agency sources said officials are going through the reference and any decision to start a probe in the matter will be taken soon after analysing all the documents.
If the agency is satisfied that it has enough prima facie evidence to initiate an FIR, it will start or else it might register a preliminary enquiry to gather enough material for registering a regular case, they said.
The allegations of corruption in the deal surfaced in a Brazilian paper which alleged the Embraer had taken the services of middlemen to clinch the deal of aircraft supply in Saudi Arabia and India.
According to defence procurement rules of India, middlemen are strictly barred in such deals.
Leading Brazilian news paper ‘Folha de Sao Paulo’ had reported last week that Embraer allegedly paid commissions to a UK-based defence agent to finalise 208 million USD deal with India.
DRDO had purchased three aircraft from the company in 2008 and customised them for serving are air-borne radar system known as airborne early-warning and control systems or AWACS for the Indian Air Force.
The newspaper had claimed that US Justice department was scrutinising Embraer’s deal with India.
The company has been under investigation by the US Justice Department since 2010 when a contract with the Dominican Republic raised the Americans’ suspicions, it said.
Since then, the investigation has widened to examine business dealings with eight more countries.
Following the allegations, the Defence Ministry referred the matter to CBI asking it to probe the allegations.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had sought a report from DRDO following which the matter was referred to CBI.
“If there is a criminal angle, then we can give it (probe) to CBI. The Defence Ministry cannot investigate criminal angle,” he had said when asked whether the probe would be handed over to CBI.
DRDO has also sought an explanation from Embraer.
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