The Railways Ministry has sought a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the allegation that United States-based software giant Oracle’s Indian arm bribed its officials to the tune of about $400,000 for a contract in 2019.

The Railway Ministry decided to hand over the case more than a year after the allegations surfaced in 2022 October that US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had slapped a fine of $23 million against Oracle for creating slush funds to bribe railway officials in India in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). It had also bribed officials in United Arab Emirates, and Turkey for getting contracts, the SEC indictment had revealed.

At that time, the Railways Ministry had issued a statement to state that they are conducting a probe into the allegations.

Reply in Parliament

Railway Board Secretary Milind Deouskar told TMC MP In Rajya Sabha, Saket Gokhale on January 3 that “considering the nature of allegations, the matter has been forwarded to CBI for investigation”. The information shared by Deouskar, which did not point out when the Ministry referred the matter to the CBI, was in a reply to questions sought by the TMC MP under urgent parliamentary business.

“It’s been over 1 year and the CBI has buried the matter without even registering a case. No accused arrested & no probe conducted,” MP Gokhale wondered in his post on the social media platform ‘X’. “Who in the Modi Govt benefited from these bribes given by Oracle?,” he charged.

The bribe was paid over a period of three years from 2016.

Under scanner

Likewise, two more US-based companies -- Louis Berger International and CDM Smith, were also accused of bribing officials here to cracks deals in water and highways sectors respectively. While, the construction and consultancy firm, Louis Berger, was alleged to have paid off to get government water projects in Goa in 2010. The scandal surfaced in 2015 that he had bribed Goa as well as Assam government servants.

Developer CDM Smith was accused of bribing NHAI officials to the tune of $1.18 million to get highways contract. The CBI had registered an FIR and raided the developer in February 2018 only after a newspaper revealed the scam.