DRDO seeks explanation from Brazilian Co. on 208-million dollar jet deal

DRDO seeks explanation from Brazilian Co. on 208-million dollar jet deal

DRDO seeks explanation from Brazilian Co. on 208-million dollar jet deal

Embraer, that is known to have sold executive jets to the Indian Air Force, is being investigated on a 2008 contract with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for thge manufacture of new aircrafts.

An Embraer spokesperson told The Sunday Express from Singapore that "the company is not party to the legal proceedings in Brazil". "On receipt of information by DRDO further steps may be initiated", said Nitin Wakanker, Spokesperson, Ministry of Defence. The first aircraft was delivered in 2011, and the other two were delivered later. They were fitted with indigenous radars in a Rs 2,500 crore DRDO project.

According to news agency PTI, DRDO chief S Christopher, who headed the AEW&C programme previously, did not answer phone calls or respond to messages.

The scope of the probe also extends to defence deals made by Embraer with Saudi Arabia. Earlier this year, the Defence Ministry had taken stringent action against AgustaWestland after a Swiss court concluded that bribes were paid in the VVIP helicopter deal. The submarines have been designed for India by French shipmaker DCNS. On Friday, Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo reported that the U.S. government had started investigations into charges that Embraer paid bribes to obtain contracts with foreign countries, including Saudi Arabia and India.

The probe, which began in the US under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in 2010, has already led to the arrest of the defence minister of the Dominican Republic last month on bribery charges in a military deal with Embrarer as a result of investigation launched on the basis of the information US Department of Justice shared with Brazilian authorities. According to the paper, a representative from United Kingdom was hired because Indian laws ban middlemen in defence deals.

Brazilian aircraft major Embraer is alleged to have resorted to bribes and used middlemen to secure contracts in India and Saudi Arabia.

The 2008 Embraer deal was an important step in defence cooperation between India and Brazil.

The Brazilian newspaper said Embraer is cooperating with the investigations and announced in July that it was expecting to reach a deal with American authorities soon.

"In both cases, suspicions were underlined in May of this year when an employee with more than 30 years at the company reached a plea-bargain agreement in investigations being conducted by the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office here in Brazil", it added.

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