New Delhi, May 29 (EFE).- India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a criminal case against British defense giants BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce for alleged kickbacks in procuring 24 Hawk-115 advanced jet trainers.
According to a CBI document dated May 23 and made public on Monday, British Aerospace Systems and Rolls-Royce paid bribes to Indian officials to secure more than $1.2-billion worth of defense contracts.
The agency named ex-Rolls-Royce India director Tim Jones, unnamed Indian officials, and arms dealers Sudhir Chuadhrie and Bhanu Chaudharie as accused.
The document, first reported by broadcaster NDTV, says the accused committed suspected offenses like “criminal conspiracy, abuse of official position, cheating, obtaining undue advantage to induce a public servant, causing disappearance of evidence, and taking gratification.”
The complaint noted the alleged crimes were committed between 2003 and 2012.
The agency said the accused unnamed government officials abused their positions by approving the procurement of 24 British Hawk-115 fighters for more than $900 million and okaying license manufacturing of a further 42 aircraft to state-run Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) for about $308.
The defense ministry closed the two contracts with Rolls-Royce in 2004.
But in 2012, based on media reports, the UK’s Serious Fraud Office initiated a probe into allegations of Rolls Royce indulging in corrupt practices in securing defense projects in India and other countries.
The SFO probe revealed Rolls Royce paid a bribe of one million British pounds to Indian middlemen for an increase of license fee from 4 million British pounds to 7.5 million, according to NDTV.
The CBI is investigating several contracts with Rolls-Royce, suspecting that negotiations involved middlemen, a practice prohibited in India in defense procurement under the so-called “agent/agency commission prohibition clauses.” EFE