An initial Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry has discovered evidence that $5.5 million (Rs 36 crore) was reportedly paid to an overseas middle man in the Embraer aircraft deal, The Indian Express reported. Unnamed officials said the "breakthrough" will enable them to change the inquiry to a regular case by registering a First Information Report. No other details about the accused have been disclosed.

The English daily quoted a CBI official as saying, “The CBI is now contacting some foreign enforcement agencies to ascertain details of the payment.” The investigating agency was looking into allegations that an agent was paid a commission to help Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer secure a deal worth a $208-million (Rs 1,395 crore approximately) with India's Defence Research and Development Organisation.

Investigators had said the probe was against certain defence officials. India's defence procurement procedure prohibits the payment of commission or the involvement of a middleman. The allegations against Embraer surfaced in a Brazilian daily, Folha de Sao Paolo, which reported that the company had paid commissions to secure aircraft deals with Saudi Arabia and India. The deal was signed during the first term of the United Progressive Alliance rule in 2008, and involved the purchase of three ERJ-145 aircraft. The acquisition was part of a project that involved the building of an indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems for the Indian Air Force.

Embraer is also under the United States Justice Department's scanner. The Brazilian daily said Embraer has agreed to cooperate with the US probe and was likely to reach an agreement with the American officials.