UK middleman was paid $5.5 mn bribe to swing Embraer deal: CBI
In a major breakthrough in the Embraer aircraft deal, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has found evidence that the Brazilian aviation major Embraer paid a $ 5.5 million bribe to a British middleman to clinch the deal of aircraft supply in Saudi Arabia and India during the UPA government in 2008.
On September 14, the Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar wrote to the CBI to probe allegations of corruption in the purchase of three aircraft from Embraer following reports of investigations in Brazil and the U.S. The CBI is also probing the VVIP chopper scam.
The Defence Ministry had also written to the Ministry of External Affairs to pursue the matter through Indian missions in the respective countries.
In 2008, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) signed a $208-million deal with Embraer for three ERJ-145 aircraft to build indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems (AEW&C) for the Indian Air Force (IAF). The DRDO has already sought an explanation from Embraer within 15 days on the issue.
While asking the CBI to probe into the matter, the Defence Ministry handed over a set of key documents to the CBI, including minutes of the meetings that took place in 2006 where the decision on the purchase of three Embraer aircraft was taken.
“Further, CBI had registered a preliminary inquiry against unknown officials of the Ministry of Defence (GOI) and others to gather enough material for registering a regular case. During the investigation, it was found that the Brazilian aviation company—Embraer had employed an agent hailing from Britain to facilitate various contracts. These include the contract for AEW&C project with CABS/ DRDO for procurement of three aircraft,” said a source.
Meanwhile, CBI has involved the foreign law enforcement agencies to ascertain the payment (bribe paid by Embraer). “Soon after, these agencies will revert with documentations, FIR will be registered,” the source added.