Defence Ministry seeking details of Embraer aircraft deal

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New Delhi, Sep 10 (IANS) The Ministry of Defence on Saturday said that it was seeking information from the manufacturers of the Embraer aircraft over alleged payment of bribes in a three-aircraft deal struck in 2008.

“DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) to seek explanation and details from manufacturers of Embraer aircraft on media reports on deal for the aircraft signed in 2008,” principal spokesperson, Ministry of Defence, tweeted.

“On receipt of information by DRDO further steps may be initiated,” the spokesperson said in another tweet.

According to media reports, the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer is being probed by prosecutors in Brazil and the US Justice Department over commissions allegedly paid to a UK-based defence agent for clinching the 2008 deal.

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The deal, inked by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, involved the purchase of three EMB-145 planes for $208 million. The first aircraft was delivered in 2011, and the other two were delivered later.

The aircraft were to be fitted with the DRDO’s Airborne Early-Warning and Control (AEW&C) system and were to be used by the Indian Air Force.

The AEW&C system, the reports said, is still not ready as the DRDO has missed several deadlines. It is now scheduled to be completed by December this year.

The DRDO has said it is not aware of any commissions being paid for the deal.

This is the second major allegation of graft in a defence deal signed during the UPA regime. A few months ago, there were allegations of commissions and middlemen in what has come to be known as the VVIP chopper scam.

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