New Delhi, Sep 17 (IANS) The CBI on Saturday registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) against unidentified Defence Ministry officials and others to probe allegations of kickbacks in the purchase of three Embraer aircraft in a $208 million deal inked during the UPA rule in 2008, an official said.
Sources in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said the PE was registered on a reference from the Defence Ministry on allegations related to Embraer employing an agent to facilitate various contracts.
The CBI took the step after its two-day thorough examination of the Defence Ministry request made on Wednesday through a letter regarding alleged corruption in the multi-million-dollar deal with the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer, following reports of investigations in Brazil and the US.
PE is the initial step taken by the CBI to examine any case before lodging a First Information Report (FIR) against suspected persons. During a PE, the agency cannot record statements or carry out searches.
In 2008, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) signed a $208 million deal with Embraer for three ERJ-145 aircraft to build indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems for the Indian Air Force.
The DRDO has already sought an explanation within 15 days from Embraer on the issue.
Apart from the CBI probe, the Defence Ministry will also seek information through diplomatic channels from Brazil and the US.
Brazilian newspaper ‘Folha de Sao Paulo’ had reported last week that Embraer paid commissions to a UK-based defence agent to finalise the deal with India.
It is also alleged that Embraer had taken the services of middlemen to get the deal of aircraft supply not only in India but also in Saudi Arabia.