Defence Ministry Seeks CBI Probe Into Embraer Aircraft Deal


New Delhi: The government has asked the CBI to probe allegations of Brazilian aviation major Embraer hiring a UK-based agent and paying commissions to swing the $208 million deal for three Emb-145 aircraft inked with India in 2008.

Five days after reported that such allegations had surfaced in the ongoing probe against Embraer in Brazil by the US Justice Department and Brazilian prosecutors, defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday wrote to the CBI to launch preliminary investigations into the case.

“Simultaneously, India will seek information on the case from the US and Brazil through diplomatic channels. This comes after DRDO was last Saturday directed by the minister to separately get details from the Brazilian firm within 15 days,” said a source.

The three EMB-145 aircraft have been equipped with indigenous radars in a Rs 2,520 crore DRDO project to serve as AEW&C (airborne early-warning and control systems) aircraft for IAF.

The first “modified” aircraft was delivered to DRDO in 2011, with the other two following later. After several missed deadlines, the AEW&C project is now slated to be completed by December. Present DRDO chief S Christopher was the AEW&C programme director and head of the Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS) before he was chosen to head DRDO in May 2015 by the NDA government. But he has refused to take questions from TOI till now.

Brazil’s top newspaper, the ‘Folha de Sao Paulo’, had reported on September 8 that the possible bribery in the 2008 Indian deal was under the scanner of the US justice department, which has been investigating Embraer since 2010, after a contract with the Dominican Republic raised suspicion.The scope of the investigation has now been widened to examine Embraer’s dealings with eight other countries, including India and Saudi Arabia.

 The details of bribery emerged in May this year when an employee with more than 30 years of experience at the company made a plea-bargain agreement with the Brazilian federal public prose cutor’s office, which is also probing the allegations.