CBI probe into Choudhrie’s role in Hawk deal ‘not new’; initiated by UPA

| Updated on: Nov 01, 2016

Middleman had allegedly taken bribe from Rolls-Royce

The investigations against London-based middleman Sudhir Choudhrie over charges of allegedly accepting bribe from British firm Rolls-Royce was initiated by the UPA government, and is not a fresh case initiated by the NDA government, a senior official said.

Just before exiting office in 2014, the UPA government, which had an inkling that the contract, won by Rolls-Royce for supplying engines to BAE Systems’ Hawk advanced trainer aircraft, was signed through “unlawful means”, and had asked the CBI to interrogate Choudhrie and his associates, an official told BusinessLine .

The aircraft is used by the Indian Air Force to train its pilots. The BBC and The Guardian had reported that Rolls-Royce paid £10 million to Choudhrie and his son Bhanu, to secure the £400-million contract, which was signed in 2008.

The BBC on Monday claimed that its team Panorama and The Guardian had accessed exclusive documents that indicate secret payments being made to Choudhrie.

“The CBI is investigating the case. There is nothing new that the reports have said. The matter is under scanner,” a top official said.

So far, both the CBI as well as the Enforcement Directorate have investigated Choudhrie several times over other defence deals in the past. However, the official said, the CBI might start a fresh round of investigations after the recent reports came to light.

Meanwhile, Rolls-Royce on Wednesday said it has a zero-tolerance policy on bribery and corruption.

“We have made it clear that Rolls-Royce will not tolerate business misconduct or inappropriate behaviour of any kind and in recent years we have intensified our focus on ethics and compliance, which are foundations of our culture. Our Global Code of Conduct, which applies to all of our employees, makes it clear that we have zero tolerance to bribery and corruption,” said a Rolls-Royce spokesperson. The company also said since the investigations are ongoing, it will not be able to comment on any case.

Published on January 15, 2018

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