CBI decided not to probe Rafale kickbacks, claims report

CBI decided not to probe Rafale kickbacks, claims report
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CBI decided not to probe Rafale kickbacks, claims report

Highlights

What is the secret deal between Modi government and Finmeccanica, asks Cong

Paris: French plane-maker Dassault paid at least 7.5 million euros (nearly Rs 650 million) in bribes "to a middleman to help secure the sale of 36 Rafale fighter jets to India and Indian agencies failed to investigate it despite the presence of documents, French portal Mediapart has alleged in a new report, according to NDTV report.

The journal has been probing graft allegations in the Rs 59,000 crore deal. "Mediapart has published alleged false invoices that it says enabled Dassault to pay secret commissions to alleged middleman Sushen Gupta. "Despite the existence of these documents, the Indian federal police has decided not to pursue the affair and has not begun an investigation," the portal says. According to its report, the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate have had proof since October 2018 that Dassault paid kickbacks to Sushen Gupta to secure the sale of Rafale jets.

The proof is sealed in confidential documents emerging in another corruption case being investigated by the two agencies - scam on the supply of VVIP choppers by AgustaWestland. The report adds the majoerioty of the alleged payments was made before 2013. Mediapart's investigation led to a judicial investigation in France in July.

Sushen Gupta has allegedly received bribes from AgustaWestland through a shell company in Mauritius, Intersteller Technologies. The Mauritian authorities agreed to send documents related to the company to the CBI and Enforcement Directorate, to facilitate investigations. The documents were sent to the CBI on October 11, 2018, just a week after the agency received an official complaint alleging corruption in the Rafale deal. "However, the CBI decided not to open an investigation, even though just seven days after that corruption complaint was filed it received information proving that secret commissions had indeed been paid," Mediapart said.

Meanwhile, the Congress on Monday demanded answers from the government over reports of the lifting of a ban on procurement from Finmeccanica company which had been dubbed as corrupt by ruling BJP leaders over the Agusta choppers deal.

The opposition party claimed that a "fake bogey of corruption" was raised by the BJP over the buying of VVIP helicopters during UPA-II rule and asked if it was being given a quiet burial. India had scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica's British subsidiary AgustaWestland in 2014 for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of kickbacks paid by the firm for securing the deal. The BJP had at that time attacked the Congress, asking if its leaders had received the alleged Rs 450 crore bribe money for the deal signed during the UPA-II government. Seeking to turn the tables, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala on Monday asked, "What is the 'secret deal' entered into between Modi Government and Agusta/Finmeccanica? "Is it now ok to deal with a company that Modi ji and his government called 'corrupt- bribe giver-bogus'?"

"Does it mean that fake bogey of corruption is being given a quiet burial? The nation awaits answers," he said in a series of tweets. He cited media reports that the Modi government was lifting the ban on procurement from Finmeccanica.

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