NEW DELHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has booked arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari and officials of the Indian Air Force and Ministry of Defence for alleged corruption in the procurement of 75 Pilatus basic trainer aircraft in 2009. The agency conducted searches at the office and residence of Bhandari, officials said on Saturday.
However, officials said the details of searches have been withheld for now. The case pertains to the Rs 2,895 crore deal with Swiss aircraft maker Pilatus for procurement of the basic trainer aircraft in 2009. The searches come after the findings of a three-year inquiry by the agency showed prima facie a case of corruption against the accused. According to sources, unknown officials of Pilatus Aircraft Limited were also booked.
The agency alleges that Pilatus entered into a criminal conspiracy with the directors of Offset India Private Limited — Bhandari and Bimal Sareen — and fraudulently signed a Service Provider Agreement in June 2010 which the CBI held to be in violation of the Defence Procurement Procedure. The CBI alleged that in August and October 2010, Pilatus made a payment of 10 lakh Swiss Francs in the accounts of Offset India Private Limited in New Delhi.
Also, the agency alleges, Rs 350 crore (paid in Swiss Francs) was given to Dubai-based Offset India Solutions FZC, also owned by Bhandari, between 2011 and 2015. According to CBI officials, the amount was allegedly paid to influence IAF and the defence ministry officials in favour of Pilatus. The agency has also alleged that in November 2010, the Swiss aircraft maker signed a pre-contract integrity pact with the ministry of defence while concealing facts about the agreement with Bhandari. Besides Bhandari, the CBI has also booked his companies Offset India Solutions Pvt. Ltd and others.
Others in the net
Besides Bhandari, the CBI has also booked his companies Offset India Solutions Pvt. Ltd, Offset India Solutions FZC, UAE, Sareen and unknown others for criminal conspiracy, cheating and provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.