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Firm accused of selling sensitive items to India banned

world Updated: Dec 16, 2007 11:15 IST
Arun Kumar

The US has extended by another six months an export ban on a company accused of shipping dual-use sensitive items to India for possible use in missiles, missile launch vehicles and other defence projects.

The Bureau of Industry and Security of the Department of Commerce, first barred the company, Cirrus Electronics and its other wings in Singapore and Bangalore, June 1 from exports for 180 days.

Under a notification published Friday in the US Federal Register no person or entity can export any item from the US, on behalf of Cirrus, its wings in India and Singapore and four accused people, which are subject to Export Administration Regulations.

It is important to extend the export ban to prevent an imminent violation of the Export Administration Regulations, the notification said. The Office of Export Enforcement has found that the Singapore unit of the Cirrus Electronics continued to remain in business, it said.

Cirrus Electronics was accused of exporting dual-use sensitive items from the US to India for possible use in the production of missiles and missile launch vehicles and other defence projects of India, including development of a light combat aircraft.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had arrested the company founder, Parthararathy Sudershan, an India-born Singapore national, and Mythili Gopal, an Indian national and permanent resident of the US, former international manager of the company on March 23, from Simpsonville, South Carolina.

Sudershan, 46, is in a Washington jail, pending trial, but Gopal, who was soon released on bail, is living in South Carolina. The FBI had named two other accused in its case against the Cirrus, AKN Prasad, who opened the Bangalore office and Sampat Sunder, director of Cirrus operations in Singapore.

The four were charged with exporting sensitive dual-use items from the US to three Indian entities, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) for possible use in the production of missiles and missile-launch vehicles; Aeronautical Development Establishment, for use in development of the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft; and Bharat Dynamics Ltd, for a defence project.

Two unnamed Indian government officials were referred to as co-conspirators in the entire effort to export the sensitive items from the US to India between 2005 to 2006.

Sudarshan had pleaded not guilty to charges he shipped US computer technology to India for use in missiles and other weapon systems.

According to the indictment, the Sudarshan and Gopal conspired with at least two other Indians to circumvent the US Arms Export Control Act by purchasing US electronic components used in missiles, sending them to Singapore and then re-exporting them secretly to India's missile and space-launch manufacturer.

The items included Static Random Access Memory computer chips made in Phoenix that are designed to withstand extreme temperature changes and have applications for missile guidance systems.

Other related equipment was described as high-technology capacitors, semiconductors and resistors-all with missile applications. The defendants provided false end-user documents to hide the Indian missile maker as the purchaser, the indictment stated.

The goal of the illegal exports was to "to supply government of India enterprises on the entity list with critical electronic components needed in the production of missiles and missile launch vehicles," the indictment said.

The entity list is a record of companies and foreign government entities that are restricted from buying US military goods.