Two men, including an Air Force sergeant and a businessman, both of Indian origin have been charged by Malaysian authorities for a theft of an engine of F5E fighter aircraft worth $29 million.
N Tharmendran Nagaraja, 42, and a scrap part dealer K Rajendran Prasad, both ethnic Indians, were produced at a Sessions Court here for framing of charges for disposing of military equipment, for which where they could face upto ten years in jail.
Tharmendran, who is still serving in the Air Force, allegedly conspired with Senior Airman Mohamad Shukri Mohamad Yusop at the Subang Royal Malaysian Air Force Centre, to steal the two J8521-type engines.
The two Northrop F-5E jet engines were reportedly sold on the black market by military officers to a South American company after being removed from a air force base.
It was not clear if more people including some top military officers could be charged over the scandal, which has triggered allegations of rampant corruption in the country's military.
The jet engines, worth an estimated 100 million ringgit and belonging to the 12th Squadron (Scorpion) were stolen in 2007 from the RMAF godown in Kuala Lumpur.