HISTORY OF THE SCAMThis is yet another scam that was a big hit in the history of Indian defense department which came into public notice in 2012 when the then defense minister A.K. Antony ordered for an investigation into the scam by the Central Bureau of Investigation. The defense minister A. K. Antony ordered to probe into the reported bribery in a deal worth thousands of crores. It was reported that the scandal involved the supply of aircraft engines by UK-based Rolls- Royce to state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. The deal was signed much earlier even before it was revealed to the public. The deal is all about supply of engines for the Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) aircraft which was used by the Indian Air Force.It was stated from various reports that when there was an up -gradation programme held for the engine with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for the Indian Air Force's Jaguar fleet up- gradation, Rolls Royce participated in the programme.
SPARE PARTS FOR THE AIRCRAFTS USED BY THE IAFThe program was also for the supply of spare parts for the aircrafts used by the IAF. The accusation about this scandal is that during the period of 2007-2011 there were bribes paid to certain officials in the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. Next to Augusta Westland which is a UK based company which was involved in a similar allegation of bribery and now it was Rolls Royce. The professed scam had created a kind of concern in delays in buying for the Indian Air force for there is a must for the company required for further engine up- gradations. There are also various reports which state that the amount involved in the 2007 Rolls-Royce deal is worth about Rs 10,000 crores. The allegations surfaced after HAL got a letter saying bribes were paid to officials in HAL and other departments involved in bagging contracts. Due to the number of charges which has been filed, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited immediately took action on scrutiny through its Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO), which in fact had ostensibly found belief in the bribery scam acceptance as true according to the charges.
THE SCAMThe probe regarding the scandal by the Chief Vigilance Officer from the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited had supposedly found on the face of it that Rolls Royce could have failed to comply with several of the agreed in contract responsibility with HAL between the period of 2007-11, when these bribes were apparently paid. It was only after the queries which were put forth by HAL to its vendors and suppliers to ensure integrity in its transactions as part of its fairness pact to be signed with them and only then the issue was exposed to the public. According to the reports given by certain sources it is said that after the case with the findings and recommendations of the HAL Chief Vigilance Officer was brought to the attention of the Ministry of Defense (MoD), A.K. Antony the then Defense Minister commanded that the case be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation for further enquiry. A.K. Antony, the Defense Minister was very clear that even though it was going to be a matter of delay he was very strong in his decision that no corruption was going to be allowed in the process of buying and has taken strict action on this issue.
A NOTABLE THING TO BE MENTIONED HERE IS THAT DEFENCE MINISTER
A notable thing to be mentioned here is that Defense Minister, Mr. Antony during his tenure as Defense Minister for a period of seven years has nearly given number of cases for the probing by the Central Bureau of Investigation. The Government's policy is to boycott companies which have broken the accepted contract requirements but in the recent case of termination of the VVIP helicopter deal, the Government has still not outlawed Augusta. The Hawk 132 Advanced Jet Trainer with Rolls Royce aircraft engines is now being locally manufactured by HAL through transfer of technology. The Advanced Jet Trainer Hawk has a glass cockpit and a state of the art avionics suite including the "new generation Inertial Navigation System". The other added features of the Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer are that it is supplied with the necessary communication sets, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system and the radio altimeter. Apart from all these advanced features the Hawk 132 AJT is fully combat-capable and can also carry air-to-air missiles and air-to-ground armaments.
HAWK 132 AJT CAN ALSO BE USED AS A LIGHTWEIGHT FIGHTER
CENTRAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION REPORTThe heat being turned by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the probing of the supposed bribery scandal by the UK based Rolls Royce company had clearly mentioned in a letter the state owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited that it was even ready to pay back an amount worth Rs 18 crores paid by it as bribe to commission agents linked to the government. But as already mentioned the defense ministry summoned for an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the so called scandal of Rolls Royce's apparent hiring of intermediary in contracts worth Rs 10,000 crores for supplying aircraft engines to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). According to a report from senior government sources, in a letter written by Rolls Royce to HAL it has declared that it has paid only 1. 8 million pounds (Rs 18 crores) as commission to its agent Aashmore Private Limited and was willing to return that amount to the Government. The defense ministry has already put on hold all existing and future deals with Rolls Royce pending a CBI probe ordered into allegations of bribery and engaging middlemen in contracts for supply of aircraft engines to HAL.
PROVIDING SALES AND LOGISTICAL SUPPORTThe decisions were taken even as Rolls Royce in a letter written to HAL last admitted it had employed a Singapore-based person identified as Ashok Patni and his firm Aashmore Private Limited as "commercial adviser" in India, providing sales and logistical support, local business support and "strategic advice." The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has been informed by the Aashmore Private Limited Company that a commission has been paid for securing military deals and the amount ranged between 10 and 11.3%. The Central Bureau of Investigation has probed the role of a London based arms dealer in concern with different cases which is very much under scrutiny and if substantiation of his part in this deal is brought into light or if his illegal activities are proven then the concerned person will also be in the trial for crime in the FIRs which was filed. But however later after the investigation it was said that the arms dealer who is already in the list of "undesirable contact" issued by the agency to government officials has been probed in the past but since no evidence had emerged the cases were closed.
INVESTIGATION CLEARLY SHOW A BUSINESS TRANSACTIONThere are evidences from the investigation which clearly shows that a business transaction of money worth more than Rs. 5,000 crores has happened between HAL and Aashmore Private Limited in the years 2007 to 2011. According to a senior official from HAL the Rolls-Royce's Adour Mk 871 turbofan engine was supplied for the aircraft manufactured by HAL for the Indian Air Force. As already mentioned once the Defense Ministry ordered for the enquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation it also approached the Law Ministry for moving towards blacklisting the British firm for which the Indian Air Force was not really for it stating that it might lead to a delay in the inking of the maintenance contract with Rolls Royce which will also therefore lead to affect the defense state of readiness of the country. The other concerned factors by the Indian Air Force on this issue was that they have to go in for contract for maintenance and overhaul of the six types of aircraft engines in the AJT Hawk, Jaguar, Avro, Kiran MkII and Sea Harrier military aircraft and Sea King helicopters.
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