NEW DELHI: The probe against arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari is getting bigger with sleuths examining at least two defence deals in which they suspect he could be involved.
According to sources, Bhandari, whose alleged link with Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra was reported by Express on Tuesday, is suspected to be involved in an Indian Air Force basic trainer aircraft purchase for which a deal worth around D4,000 crore was signed during the previous UPA regime in 2012. The investigators are also looking into a Mirage upgrade programme, worth thousands of crores. Interestingly, this deal too was signed when UPA was in power in 2011.
“The focus of the investigation primarily is to look into tax evasion by Bhandari and whether three companies that have come under the scanner were involved in channelling slush funds received by him,” sources said. The first company being probed by the enforcement agencies is Offset India Solutions Private Limited, which was floated on February 13, 2008, with Bhandari as one of the directors. Bhandari’s firm, with its office in Delhi, claims to offer offset requirements to foreign defence companies. Bhandari’s Micromet Ati India Private Limited is also under the scanner for alleged tax evasion and round-tripping of slush funds. Micromet was launched in November 2010 with Bhandari as director. The third company, which is being probed for alleged money laundering and tax evasion, is Avaana Software and Services Private Limited incorporated in January 2004. Bhandari was appointed as the director in Avaana in January 2007.
Bhandari, sources said, is also linked to Deepak Agarwal of suspected shell company Skyline. Agarwal was one of the promoters of shell companies that came under the scanner for donating Rs 2 crore to Arvind Kejriwal’s campaign last year.
Meanwhile, BJP leader Sidharth Nath Singh on Tuesday admitted to having social links with Bhandari. However, he charged the Congress for diverting the issue from Robert Vadra by dragging his name. “To set the record straight, let me admit, I know Mr Bhandari socially. Our children went to the same school. My association with him is social and unlike Vadra who is under investigation for acquiring property in London. Congress has alleged that I made over 450 calls in a short period to Bhandari; that is incorrect,” he said.
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