The government has asked the CBI to probe allegations of Brazilian aviation major Embraer hiring a UK-based agent and paying commissions to swing the $208 million deal for three Emb-145 aircraft inked with India in 2008.
The Embraer Aircraft Deal was signed during the first term of the Congress-led government.
The deal involved the purchase of three aircraft equipped with indigenous radars for Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems. The first aircraft was delivered in 2011 and the remaining two in 2013.
Sources said this letter has been written just days after Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chief S. Christopher on Monday met Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar over the Embraer aircraft deal row and briefed him about the situation.
In the letter sent on Saturday, the DRDO has given Embraer a period of 15 days to explain with details the news report, which was based on investigations by the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office in Brazil.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had earlier this week said that, “If there is a criminal angle then the CBI will probe as the Ministry cannot”.
“If only procedural issues are involved, then the Defence Ministry can do an internal investigation,” he had said.
The company has been under investigation by the United States Justice Department since 2010 when a contract with the Dominican Republic raised the Americans’ suspicions.
“Investigations that have been opened by the government of the United States to establish whether Embraer paid bribes in order to obtain contracts abroad have affected deals that the Brazilian company closed with Saudi Arabia and India,” Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo had reported.
It is suspected that a leading Indian middleman based in UK was roped in for the deal.
Since then, the investigation has widened to examine business dealings with eight more countries.
Embraer is cooperating with the investigations and announced in July that it was expecting to reach a deal soon with American authorities, the paper said.