Based on a Brazilian newspaper report that uncovered an alleged bribe of $57.6 million paid by the company in a deal for EMB-145 aircraft to be acquired for pre-airborne warning and control systems, officials said. FIR was registered. Nearly six years after this, the CBI arrested Khaitan last week. He said that Khaitan, who was arrested on August 25 and also accused in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper purchase case, was interrogated by CBI officials for about four days after which he was sent to judicial custody.
Officials said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) suspects that Khaitan was instrumental in transferring bribe money to India allegedly received through various companies abroad and in India. The agency had named UK-based arms dealer Vipin Khanna and two companies — Brazil-based Embraer and Singapore-based Interdev Pte Ltd — in connection with alleged corruption in the July 3, 2008 deal.
It is alleged that the bribe was sent from Embraer’s subsidiaries to Khanna through Interdev so that it could be used to influence officials in the Defense Ministry and Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO). The agency had registered a preliminary inquiry in September 2016 after a Brazilian newspaper alleged that Embraer had used the services of middlemen to negotiate deals in Saudi Arabia and India.
As per India’s Defense Procurement Rules, middlemen in such deals are strictly prohibited. The probe was converted into an FIR in October 2016, following a preliminary CBI probe that found that Khanna’s alleged mediation led DRDO officials to procure the aircraft from Embraer on a single vendor basis.
After the registration of the FIR, the CBI spokesperson had said, “It is also alleged that in lieu of facilitating the settlement/deal between the Brazil based firm and DRDO (India), the firm through the Singapore based company entered into the said middleman ( Khanna) during the year 2009, amounting to approximately $57.6 million.