CBI begins probe in 2012 aircraft deal

According to investigators, the raids also unearthed a separate tranche of emails related to a property deal in London, which allegedly link Bhandari to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra.

Written by Rahul Tripathi , Ritu Sarin | New Delhi | Published:July 13, 2017 4:53 am
Narada sting case, narada sting tape, narada tape, sougata roy, CBI investigation Sources said the PE was registered last month following the examination of an Income-Tax investigation report on Bhandari.

THE CBI has registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) into the 2012 Pilatus aircraft deal by the previous UPA government, allegedly involving Sanjay Bhandari, the fugitive defence dealer. Sources said the PE was registered last month following the examination of an Income-Tax investigation report on Bhandari.

Bhandari was raided by I-T in April 2016, with investigators claiming that a cache of documents related to the aircraft deal had been seized. Sources said these documents allegedly show a payment of around 7,50,000 Swiss Francs from Pilatus to Bhandari’s Offset India Solution Pvt Ltd, which is suspected to be a commission. “We are probing what kind of services were rendered by Bhandari’s firm to Pilatus,” said a senior CBI official.

According to investigators, the raids also unearthed a separate tranche of emails related to a property deal in London, which allegedly link Bhandari to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra.

Unlike a regular CBI case, a PE is registered to verify and examine facts of a case, and is concluded within three months.

Bhandari has been under the scanner of Indian agencies for the last two years but left the country last year. A look-out notice has been issued against him by Delhi Police, which booked him under the stringent Official Secrets Act (OSA). Bhandari is currently believed to be in London.

The Rs 2,900-crore Pilatus deal, according to CBI, was signed by the UPA government for procurement of 75 basic trainer aircraft (BTA) from the Swiss firm. The aircraft, according to investigators, was chosen over American-made Beechcraft T-6C Texan II and the South Korean KT-1 aircraft.

Last year, former defence minister Manohar Parrikar had informed Lok Sabha that the deal was under the scanner. “There were a lot of discussions over Pilatus in 2012, when I came (to office), around 62 planes were already flying. I thought, if I raise it now, the air force (pilot) shortage, which has come to 164, would have gone up to 1,000,” Parrikar had said.

As for the emails found during the raids, a preliminary I-T report stated that they purportedly contained discussions on “payments and renovations for a London home (12 Ellerton House, Bryanston Square) bought for 19 lakh GBP (Rs 19 crore) in October 2009 and sold in June 2010”.

In one email, Vadra is alleged to have replied to London-based Sumit Chadda, a relative of Bhandari, that “he would look into the issue”, and that his “secretary” Manoj Arora will be “in touch”, according to the I-T report. Thereafter, Arora kept in touch with Chadda using an email ID “Exim Real Estate”, the report alleged.

Rejecting these allegations, Vadra’s lawyers had said that he “does not own directly or indirectly, house No 12, Ellerton House, Bryanston Square, London”. They also said that Vadra and his assistant “have not entered into any transaction of a financial nature with Mr Sanjay Bhandari and are not even aware that Mr Sanjay Bhandari is involved in any defense transaction”.

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  1. J
    Jatin
    Jul 13, 2017 at 10:25 pm
    Good feeding by cbi. Keep licking Rahul Tripathi.
    Reply
    1. T
      TIHAEwale
      Jul 13, 2017 at 12:28 pm
      Feku56 having successfully handed over our part of Kashmir to terrorists will have to book at least Robber Vadra because all projects of Feku56 are like HawaMahal (castles in air) and in 2019 what he can show to voters other than achievements of his lumpen gau rakshaks. Arun Jhoot Lie still not able to inform how much old currency notes surrendered with RBI. saanp Nath silent on Cashmere ( not cashmilon). Sushma confined to Indian shores so busy tweeting. Feku56-Tadipaar Amit plotting unrest in territories of Vasundhara and Shivraj.
      Reply
      1. H
        Harminder Singh
        Jul 13, 2017 at 9:11 am
        What about the latest coal deal Australua then the daussalt deal then the Jv with Israel and arms deal Moscow and power deal Bangladesh and shipyard deal usa all the beneficiaries seem to be Adani or Reliance strange but nothing new with new Govts in power such is the norm of course they have to their credit a great s Marketing CEO😆😆😆😆😆😆😆😂😂😁😀
        Reply
        1. R
          Rahul
          Jul 13, 2017 at 11:38 am
          A lot of thing may 'seem' to you. But that is because this politics of money and patronage has many beneficiaries, like you. Have you any proof for what you claim? Just because questions which are uncomfortable for you have come up with evidence, like of you just a make some noise to divert the issue. A pitiful fail.
          Reply
        2. A
          Antony
          Jul 13, 2017 at 8:00 am
          Christian fundamentalist church hawala operator Robber BADRaji your days are numbered. Now Priyanka also cannot save you. Do you know Robber Badra's mom got converted to Christianity by force from the church and the mother and son duo kiIIed his father his aunt his uncle and his sister.
          Reply
          1. D
            Dipak
            Jul 13, 2017 at 5:57 am
            The bottom line. Even today the Kamvali owns and operates the CBI and Supreme Court. Nothing will come out of it. CBI will kill the investigation as the Kamvali pays of CBI.
            Reply
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