An Indian-American businessman has been sentenced to 35 months in jail and slapped a fine of $60,000 for illegally exporting electronic parts to Indian defence entities involved in development of ballistic missiles, space launch vehicles and fighter jets.
Parthasarathy Sudarshan, the CEO of Cirrus Electronics with offices in South Carolina, Singapore and Bangalore, was sentenced by the US District Court in Washington on Monday after he pleaded guilty to the violations between 2002 and 2006, the US Justice Department said.
He will serve about 20 months because he has been in federal prison since his arrest in March 2007.
Sudarshan acquired electrical components with applications in missile guidance and firing systems in the US for the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) and Bharat Dynamics, Ltd (BDL), the prosecution alleged.
He also admitted to acquiring microprocessors for the Tejas, a fighter jet under development in India, and illegally exporting 500 of them in 2004 and 2006 to the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), an enterprise within the Indian defence ministry responsible for the development of the jet.
“Both VSSC and BDL are on the Department of Commerce’s Entity List and exports of US-origin commodities to these entities are restricted and require prior authorisation in the form of a license from the Department of Commerce,” a Justice Department statement said. Because the microprocessors are on the US Munitions List, the State Department must licence any export of the products. There were no export licenses for any of the shipments to VSSC BDL and ADE, it said.
The judge said that Sudarshan risked putting nuclear weapon technology into wrong hands. His attorney argued that most of the goods sold were of low technology with some costing less than USD one a piece.
Sudarshan had years of experience as an electrical engineer in the research section of India’s defence industry before he emigrated to Singapore and started Cirrus in 1997, prosecutors said.