The Central Bureau of Investigation on Saturday filed a case against unknown officials of the Indian Air Force and Defence Ministry and arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari for alleged corruption in the procurement of Pilatus trainer aircraft in 2009, PTI reported. A case has also been registered against Switzerland-based Pilatus Aircraft.
The agency also searched the home and offices of Bhandari in connection with the Rs 2,895.63-crore trainer aircraft deal. “The search was carried out on Friday, based on an FIR lodged on June 19, following a preliminary inquiry into the deal,” said an unidentified CBI official, according to The Hindu.
Bhandari is already being investigated for allegedly buying a house in London under a benami for businessman Robert Vadra.
The agency alleged that Pilatus Aircraft paid 1 million Swiss franc in the account of Offset India Solution Private Limited with the Standard Chartered Bank, New Delhi in two tranches in August and October, 2010. An additional Rs 350 crore was also transferred in Swiss francs from 2011 to 2015 in the bank accounts of Dubai-based Offset India Solutions FZC, also belonging to Bhandari.
The CBI has alleged that Pilatus Aircraft entered into a criminal conspiracy with Bhandari and Bimal Sareen, both directors of Offset India Solutions Private Limited, and fraudulently signed a service provider agreement with Bhandari in June 2010 in violation of the Defence Procurement Procedure, 2008.
Pilatus Aircraft then signed a Pre-Contract Integrity Pact on November 12, 2010, with the Defence Ministry concealing the service provider agreement with Bhandari. “It is suspected that the said commission amount was paid in order to influence the public servants associated with the process of procurement,” said the CBI. Pilatus bagged the deal in May 2012.