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CBI registers case in Embraer’s sale, Defence agent Vipin Khanna named key accused


The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has named NRI defence consultant Vipin Khanna as the key beneficiary in the FIR lodged in the 2008 Embraer aircraft purchase deal.

Mr. Khanna, 87, is accused of receiving nearly $6-million from Embraer, the world’s third largest aircraft maker, to broker the deal. The Commission was allegedly paid to him in 2009. A Singapore-based company has also been named. Following a reference from the Ministry of Defence, the CBI, in September, initiated a preliminary enquiry (PE) into the bribery allegations.

A joint US-Brazil investigation into Embraer, has uncovered a bribery case leading to a deal signed between the company and DRDO in 2008 for three aircraft equipped with indigenous radars for AEW&C (airborne early warning and control systems).

Embraer also sold VVIP executive jets to the Indian Air Force. This deal is also likely to come under a probe. According to FIR by CBI, Vipin Khanna significantly benefitted from the kickbacks and from a Singapore-based company, Interdev Pte Ltd, as the entity via which the money was routed in three tranches through a subsidiary of Embraer. The alleged kickbacks were routed via Austria and Switzerland. Interdev Pte Ltd is listed as a software consultancy firm incorporated in 2000.

Kickbacks were paid in India in the $210 million-deal for purchase of three Embraer-145 aircrafts.

Questions were raised in 2010 after the US Justice Department started investigating Embraer for alleged payment of bribes to secure contracts in various countries. The investigation began when a contract between Embraer and the Dominican Republic raised suspicion. The investigation was later expanded to business dealings with eight other countries.

Two Embraer platforms were delivered to India in 2012 and the remaining one in 2015 for eventual use by the Indian Air Force.

CBI is planning to send teams to Brazil, USA and other involved countries to close in on the money trail and send LRs (Letters Rogatory) for assistance.

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