After the major embarrassment caused due to the Embraer deal, the Defence Ministry has now asked for a CBI probe into the allegations. Brazilian aviation company, Embraer was accused of hiring a UK-based agent to flow kickbacks to land the $208 million deal for three Emb-145 aircrafts.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had said last week that he might recommend a CBI probe into the deal if it displayed ‘criminal nature’.
“…I can tell you as of now that if it displays criminal nature, I will hand over the case for CBI probe,” the Union minister had said.
Last week, after the allegations surfaced, the Defence Ministry wrote to the aircraft demanding an explanation for the charges levelled against them.
A deal was signed upon in 2008 between the Brazilian aircraft manager and DRDO for three aircrafts equipped with indigenous radars for AEW&C (Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems). The AEW&C system is under-development for the Indian Air Force by Bengaluru based Centre for Air Borne Systems (CABS). The deal states that Embraer is to modify its jet aircraft, EMB-145 to carry the Active Array Antenna Unit (AAAU), developed by the DRDO, on the aircraft’s fuselage.
A joint investigation by the US authorities and their Brazil counterparts into the deal, uncovered the bribery case. According to Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo, Embraer had been under investigation by the United States Justice Department since 2010 ‘when a contract with the Dominican Republic raised the Americans’ suspicions.’