New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered a case against unknown officials of the Indian Air Force (IAF), the Ministry of Defence, arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari and Switzerland-based company Pilatus Aircraft Ltd in connection with the alleged corruption in the Rs-2895 crore deal of 75 Pilatus basic trainer aircraft for the IAF in 2009, officials said on Saturday.
The agency has carried out searches at nine locations in Delhi-NCR, including at the residence and office of Bhandari, and the office of Pilatus, they said.
The agency had registered a preliminary inquiry in 2016 into the matter. During the course of investigation it was found that a request of proposal was issued by the IAF on December 16, 2009, for procurement of the basic trainer aircraft and M/s Pilatus Aircrafts Ltd was one of the bidders, the CBI stated.
The investigating agency said the company entered into a conspiracy with Bhandari and Bimal Sareen, both the directors of Offset India Solutions Pvt Ltd., and fraudulently signed a Service Provider Agreement with Bhandari in June 2010. This agreement was in violation of the Defence Procurement Procedure.
According to the agency, Pilatus Aircrafts made payment to Offset India Solutions in two tranches during August and October 2010. Apart from this, the company also transferred approx Rs 350 crore fund to Bhandari's company during 2011 to 2015 to obtain the said contract.
It has been found, during preliminary investigation, that a Pre-contract Integrity Pact was signed on November 2010 with Ministry of Defence but the company deliberately concealed the facts about signing of service provider agreement with Bhandari. Pilatus Aircrafts also hid the fact about payment that was made to Bhandari’s company before the contract was given.
The agency stated it suspected that the said commission amount was paid to influence the public servants of IAF and MoD who were associated with the process of the said procurement.
Pilatus Aircraft signed the contract with the Ministry of Defence in 2012 for Rs 2,895 crore and Offset India Solutions and other companies of Bhandari, according to which it received Rs 25.5 crore during June 2012 and March 2015.
On the basis of subsequent findings, the CBI has now registered an FIR in the case and investigations are underway.
Besides Bhandari, the CBI has booked his companies Offset India Solutions Pvt. Ltd, Offset India Solutions FZC, UAE, Aggarwal, Verma, Sareen and unknown others for criminal conspiracy, cheating and provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act, the officials said.