Millennium Post

CBI asked to unearth money trail

British major Rolls Royce allegedly paid around Rs 600 crore as commission to bag deals worth around Rs 10,000 crore with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and the Defence Ministry has asked the CBI to unearth the money trail.

The commission was allegedly paid by the London-based company to its intermediaries for getting help in bagging defence deals, Defence Ministry officials said here on Tuesday.

The CBI, which has been entrusted the case of alleged bribery, has been asked by the government to unearth the money trail involved. The beneficiaries of these monetary transactions would also be investigated by the agency, they said.

The British firm, which has been already paid around Rs 5,000 crore to the HAL in last five years, has acknowledged hiring a person called Ashok Patni and his Singapore-based firm Aashmore Private Limited for help in business with the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

The Defence Ministry has on Monday put on hold all existing and future deals with Rolls Royce pending a CBI probe into bribery allegations and decided to recover money paid as commission by London-based company.

India will also seek information from Britain where the Serious Fraud Office is investigating bribery charges against Rolls Royce in cases related to China and Indonesia.

Rolls Royce has supplied engines for six types of aircraft-- AJT Hawk, Jaguar, Avro, Kiran MK-II and Sea Harrier and Sea King Helicopters -- and IAF was to sign a contract with it for maintenance and overhaul of these.

Rolls Royce has stated that it ‘will cooperate with the regulatory authorities and have repeatedly made clear that we will not tolerate misconduct of any sort.’
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