The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered an FIR against notorious arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari, unknown officials in the Indian Air Force and Swiss aircraft maker Pilatus over alleged irregularities and corruption to the tunes of 339 crores.
The kickback amount was allegedly given during the procurement of 75 basic trainer aircraft for the IAF in 2009.
#Breaking | CBI has registered case against unknown officials Indian Air Force, Ministry of Defence and Sanjay Bhandari and Swiss-based Pilatus Aircraft on charges of irregularities and corruption. More details by @bhavatoshsingh. pic.twitter.com/pVmVrnhbOC
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) June 22, 2019
CBI’s FIR may also mean trouble for Congress’ son in law Robert Vadra. As per reports, during the Pilatus dealing, kickbacks were paid to Sanjay Bhandari’s company Offset India Solutions. The preliminary inquiry that led to this FIR was started under Manohar Parrikar’s tenure as the Defence Minister. By 2014, 43 of the 75 aircraft were already brought to India.
As per reports, the CBI’s inquiry had found that in 2009, Sanjay Bhandari’s company had received the kickback amount through his Singapore based bank account. From there the money was laundered to Bhandari’s company in Dubai and then, it was allegedly used to purchase properties in London. It is notable here that the Enforcement Directorate has already stated in open court that Sanjay Bhandari was acting on behalf of Robert Vadra for the purchase of properties in London.
It is notable here that not only Robert Vadra, the notorious arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari has been found to have conspicuous links with Congress president Rahul Gandhi too. Back in March, OpIndia had exposed the dubious land deals that linked Rahul Gandhi to Sanjay Bhandari.
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 arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari, who is close to both Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Robert Vadra.
While the ED is only looking at the money laundering and financial irregularities of the deal, CBI is investigating the larger aspects of corruption which also involves senior government officials and IAF personnel.
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 had personally contacted A.K. Antony, his Indian counterpart, requesting a “high-level review”. However, these objections were overruled and Pilatus was awarded the contract.