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CBI Files FIR Against Rolls Royce and BAE Systems in Kickback Scandal: Hawk Aircraft Deal Under Investigation [Read FIR]

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      30 May, 2023 07:31 PM      0 Comments
CBI Files FIR Against Rolls Royce and BAE Systems in Kickback Scandal: Hawk Aircraft Deal Under Investigation

NEW DELHI: The CBI has lodged an FIR against British aerospace and defence company Rolls Royce PLC, its top executives and arms dealers for allegedly paying kickbacks, in the procurement of Hawk 115 Advanced Jet Trainer aircraft for the Indian Air Force and Navy between 2003 and 2012.

The agency registered a regular case on May 23 against Rolls Royce India Director Tim Jones, suspected arms dealers Sudhir Choudhrie and his son Bhanu Choudhrie, Rolls Royce Plc and British Aerospace Systems, accusing them of paying bribe to public servants to benefit the companies.

The FIR has been filed under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act after completing a preliminary enquiry which began six years ago.

The illegal involvement of middlemen and payment of commission against the contract obligations were also mentioned in a British court order of 2017 involving Rolls Royce Plc.

The FIR stated between 2003 and 2012, public servants abused their official position and approved and procured 24 Hawk 115 Advance Jet Trainer aircraft for 734.21 million pounds besides permitting licence manufacture of 42 additional aircraft by HAL against materials supplied by Rolls Royce for an additional amount of $308.247 million and $7.5 million towards the manufacturers license fee.

The FIR claimed that the deal was done in lieu of huge bribes, commissions and kickbacks paid by the manufacturer (Rolls Royce PLC) and its officers to intermediaries despite the fact that the agreements, Integrity Pact and associated documents/orders pertaining to the deal prohibited payments to intermediaries and middlemen.

The CBI also alleged that the documents related to the transaction were seized from Rolls Royce India office in Mumbai during a tax survey by the Income Tax department, but the accused destroyed or removed it to evade investigation by Indian agencies.

In 2008, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited sought a sanction from the Ministry of Defence to enter into a licence agreement with BAE/Rolls Royce to manufacture another 5 Hawk aircraft. The agreement was signed in 2010 and delivered between 2013 and 2016. In 2011, however, there was an increase in the value of the deal from 537.55 million pounds to 600.29 million pounds.

In 2012, the FIR said, media reports alleging corruption in the Rolls Royce operations emerged resulting in an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office, London.

The agency had initiated the inquiry in the matter on December 15, 2016.

Read FIR

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