CBI, ED probes failed to dig up any dirt on Choudhrie
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has not found any evidence of violation of the foreign exchange laws against alleged arms dealer Sudhir Choudhrie, who is being investigated in the UK on bribery charges.
“After closing the probe into a contract to upgrade 130mm filed guns to 155mm for the Indian Army, the CBI approached the court with a closure report. Though the court accepted CBI’s closure report, but it told ED to look into certain transactions mentioned in the FIR against Choudhrie. The ED looked into those transactions and didn’t find any evidence of violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA),” said an ED official requesting anonymity.
According to the ED sources, the agency didn’t inform the court about conclusions of its probe.
Besides the ED, the CBI probed Choudhrie in two cases — the Barack missile deal and upgrading contract of 130mm field guns.
The FIR with regard to the upgrading contract was registered in 2007 against Choudhrie, unknown defence ministry officials and former Samta Party treasurer, RK Jain. The contract was awarded to Soltam Limited of Israel for `208 crore. Three years later the case was closed claiming lack of sufficient evidence.
After the field gun case, the CBI late last year closed the case with regard to charges of bribery in the procurement of Barak missiles from the Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI). The deal was worth around `1,100 crore and the case was registered in 2006. Choudhrie was not named as an accused in the case but the agency claimed in its FIR that some remittances from IAI to Choudhrie were under scanner.
Former defence minister George Fernandes, another alleged arms dealer Suresh Nanda and former Navy chief Admiral Sushil Kumar had been named as accused in the case but seven years later the CBI closed the case saying that it didn’t have sufficient evidence to proceed further.