The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday closed its probe into alleged payment of illegal commission to an Isle of Man-based firm by South African armaments firm, Denel, to swing a 2002 deal to supply anti-material rifles (AMR) and ammunition to India since no corroborative evidence was found.
Based on a complaint from the ministry of defence, the CBI had lodged its case in 2005 and sent a Letters Rogatory (LR) - formal request sent via courts - to authorities in South Africa the same year seeking information related to suspected financial transactions between the government-controlled Denel and the Isle of Man-based alleged broker, Varas Associates.
Denel was banned by the Indian government in 2005 for allegedly violating the contract terms against hiring the alleged middleman. SA sent its response to CBI's LR after a delay of around eight years, giving the state-controlled Denel a clean chit.
"The CBI closed the probe since no evidence was found regarding the MoD complaint against alleged payment of commission - around 12.7% of the deals' worth - to Varas Associates by Denel to clinch the Indian rifles deal," said a CBI source.
The source said, "In its response to our LR, South Africa sent a detailed reply, saying there was no evidence of any payment made by Denel to Varas Associates - at least, not for the anti-material rifles deal with India."
The source said, "CBI's probe, which was done abroad too, found no evidence regarding Denel's payment to Varas Associates. We found no irregularities in the tendering process for the anti-material rifles deal either." CBI's former director AP Singh had visited SA last year and had been assured of co-operation in the probe.