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Enforcement Directorate conducts searches at 14 locations in Pilatus deal case

The CBI had filed a criminal case in the ₹ 2,895 crore Pilatus deal last year in June.

The CBI had filed a criminal case in the ₹ 2,895 crore Pilatus deal last year in June.   | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday conducted searches at 14 locations in Delhi, Gurugram and Surat in connection with the ₹2,895.63-crore Pilatus trainer aircraft deal case.

The case involves middleman Sanjay Bhandari, who is under investigation by multiple agencies for his suspected role in several defence deals, government contracts and tax evasion. He is currently said to be in the United Kingdom.

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The ED probe is based on a case registered last year by the Central Bureau of Investigation in June 2019. It was alleged that to secure a deal for the supply of 75 basic trainer aircraft, Switzerland-based Pilatus Aircraft Limited paid about ₹350 crore in commission.

The payments were made in two tranches to Mr. Bhandari's firm in India from August to October 2010 and to Dubai-based company during 2011-2015.

Among those named were Pilatus Aircraft, unknown officials of the Indian Air Force and the Defence Ministry, Mr. Bhandari as director of Offset India Solutions Private Limited, and its another director Bimal Sareen. Deepak Agarwal, Himanshu Verma, Offset India Solutions and Dubai-based Offset India Solutions FZC were also arraigned.

The Air Force had issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) on December 16, 2009, to procure the trainer aircraft. As alleged, Pilatus Aircraft conspired with Mr. Bhandari and others to get the supply order. It signed a service provider agreement with him in June 2010 in violation of the defence procurement procedure.

Pilatus Aircraft, which did not disclose to the Defence Ministry that it had entered into any such agreement, had bagged the deal in May 2012.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2020 7:54:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ed-raids-multiple-cities-in-iaf-pilatus-jet-money-laundering-case/article32291394.ece

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