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Robert Vadra’s case involves Rs.300 crore bribe paid by Pilatus to influence trainer aircraft deal: ED to Delhi court

Robert Vadra's associate Sanjay Bhandari is already under investigation for alleged malpractices in the selection of the Swiss aircraft Pilatus PC-7.

In fresh trouble for Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s brother-in-law Robert Vadra, Enforcement Directorate has said that it has established that Robert Vadra is linked with the bribe of Rs.300 crore paid by Swiss aerospace company Pilatus to influence the Rs.2900 crore deal for basic trainer aircraft.

According to the reports, the Enforcement Directorate has established money-trail of kickbacks which was allegedly paid by Pilatus. ED said this in court while opposing the anticipatory bail plea filed by Robert Vadra and his associate Manoj Arora in a money laundering case. Special Judge Arvind Kumar extended Vadra’s interim protection against arrest till March 27. ED counsel alleged that the case of Robert Vadra involved payment of Rs 300 crore in a defence deal and USD 10 million received in a petroleum deal.

The probe began in July 2017 after the government had ordered a probe into the Pilatus deal. The CBI had begun an investigation into the Rs. 2900 crore Pilatus deal which allegedly involved absconding arm dealer Sanjay Bhandari, who is close to both Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Robert Vadra.

The Pilatus deal controversy began when Korea Aerospace Industries, the closest rival to the Pilatus, had strongly protested against the UPA government deal claiming that Pilatus had submitted an incomplete bid and demanded its disqualification. South Korea’s defence minister personally contacted A.K. Antony, his Indian counterpart, requesting a “high-level review”. However, these objections were overruled and Pilatus was awarded the contract.

In 2015, after Finance wing of the Ministry of Defense flagged the Pilatus deal, the Indian Express reported, “…nine components, now part of an IAF proposal to pay Pilatus under the maintenance head were not calculated during the request for proposal (RFP) stage before declaring it the lowest bidder.” This is the very same issue the Koreans had raised in 2011. It should be noted that Bhandari is under CBI investigation for alleged malpractices in the selection of the Swiss aircraft Pilatus PC-7″. It was alleged that Bhandari’s firm had received 7,50,000 Swiss Francs from Pilatus.

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