ED files charge sheet in UPA-era Embraer defence deal; says commission were paid for contract
More than four years after a formal investigation was launched into alleged irregularities in UPA-era USD210 million worth defence deal with Sao Paulo-based firm – Embraer SA, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a charge sheet against the company and several others for allegedly facilitating routing of money, officials said on Wednesday.
Those named in the charge sheet under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) are M/s Embraer SA, Brazil; Singapore based firm - M/s Interdev Aviation Services Pte. Ltd, owner of a Basmati rice exporting firm - Anoop Kumar Gupta (Director of KRBL Limited), his nephew Anurag Potdar and others.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had registered a case in October 2016 against unknown officials of DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation), Embraer, NRI arms dealer Vipin Khanna and unknown persons on the basis of which ED had initiated its money laundering probe in the case.
It was alleged that Khanna had received USD5.6 million – as kickbacks– from the Sao Paulo-based firm to influence the ministry of defence (MoD) and DRDO officials for the contract to supply three fully modified EMB-145 aircraft to Government of India as a platform for the Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) Project.
In the first week of September 2016, Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo reported that Embraer was under investigation by the US justice department since 2010 over a contract with the Dominican Republic.
According to a statement issued by ED on Wednesday, its investigation has revealed that Embraer SA obtained the contract for supply of aircraft to Indian Air Force (IAF) after paying commission of USD5.76 million to a middleman named Vipin Khanna for influencing the said contract in its favour.
It said, “the kickbacks were routed by M/s Embraer SA through its subsidiaries to M/s Interdev Aviation Services Pte Ltd, Singapore in lieu of sham agreement.”
“The kickbacks to the tune of around USD3.275 million were further routed from M/s Interdev Aviation Services to M/s KRBL DMCC, Dubai (a 100% owned subsidiary of KRBL Ltd) in lieu of a sham agreement to finally reach India through M/s KRBL Ltd projecting the same as untainted money. Further, investigation revealed that Anoop Kumar Gupta, Director of KRBL Limited, signed the sham agreement held between Interdev Aviation Services and KRBL DMCC to receive Proceeds of Crime (PoC) which were finally received in the bank account of KRBL Ltd in which he is one of the directors,” ED statement said.
The agency has, so far, attached immovable properties worth Rs16.29 crore belonging to KRBL in the case.