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In corruption case, CBI filed lawsuit against Rolls Royce, top executives

For alleged corruption in the purchase of 24 Hawk 115 Advance Jet Trainer Aircraft, the Central Bureau of Investigation today filed a case against British multinational aerospace and defence company Rolls Royce PLC, its India Director Tim Jones, arms dealers Sudhir Choudhuire and Bhanu Choudhuire, and British Aerospace Systems.


According to CBI sources, the accused engaged in a criminal conspiracy with former public employees to use their positions of authority to approve and purchase 24 Hawk 115 Advance Jet Trainer (AT) aircraft for GBP 734.21 million, as well as to authorise Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to manufacture 42 additional aircraft under licence for an additional USD 308.247 million and USD 7.5 million towards the Manufacturer’s Licence Fee, by paying enormous bribes, commissions, and kickbacks.


According to the investigation, between 2008 and 2010, the accused also authorised HAL to manufacture 57 additional Hawk aircraft for a total cost of $9,502.68 crores under a separate contract with BAE Systems (Operations) Ltd, another company in the BAES Group, according to CBI sources.


In a meeting on September 3, 2003, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), Ministry of Defence, approved the purchase of 66 Hawk 115 aircraft and the signing of an Inter-Governmental Agreement between the governments of India and the UK for long-term product support. On March 19, 2004, a Memorandum of Understanding for long-term product support was signed between the two nations.


Shortly after, the Ministry of Defence and BAE Systems/Rolls Royce signed two linked contracts, both dated March 26, 2004, for the provision of 24 HAWK aircraft via direct supply of materials and for the transfer of technology for 42 aircraft to be licenced built by HAL.


The contracts included Agent/Agency Commission Prohibition Clauses requiring the supplier (Rolls Royce/BAE) to certify that no agent or middleman has been hired to mediate, facilitate, or in any other way recommend to the government of India for the award of the contract, nor has any money been paid to any such person/agent/middleman.


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