Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman denies Indian Express’ report on alleged kickbacks received by officials

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has denied media reports of ministry officials receiving kickbacks for the purchase of spares for AN-32 aircraft.

A report appeared in Indian Express claiming kickbacks worth Rs. 17.5 crore were given to Indian officials in MoD by a Ukrainian company, as investigated by Ukraine’s anti-corruption bureau. The report claims that Indian Express accessed records which showed National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NAB) has sent a request for international legal assistance to Ministry of Home Affairs to identify Defence Ministry officials who participated in negotiations of the contract signed in November 2014 with Ukraine’s state-run Spetstechnoexport and India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The report alleges that Stetstechnoexport also signed another contract in August 2015 with a little-known Global Marketing SP Ltd for its implementation and transferred USD 2.6 million to an account opened in the UAE.

The Ministry of Defence has issued a statement denied the reports and calling it ‘misleading’. According to the statement, neither MoD nor IAF (Indian Air Force) has neither interacted nor signed any agreement with Global Marketing SP Ltd., nor were any such agreements witnessed. The IAF further clarified that Global Marketing SP Ltd. has not participated in any of the meetings held towards finalization of the contract with STE Ukraine.

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The MoD confirmed that Embassy of Ukraine in India had sent request to MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) and MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) for legal assistance in criminal case filed against officials of Ukraine Government’s State Owned Enterprise (STE). Such request had no allegations against government of India official.

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