The Defence Ministry has sought a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe over the alleged payment of bribes in the 2008 Embraer aircraft deal, officials said on Wednesday.

According to sources in the ministry, a formal written request has been sent to the premier investigative agency to look into the allegations of kickbacks received in the three-aircraft deal.

The ministry had on Saturday sought information from the Brazilian aircraft manufacturing company over the same issue.

According to media reports, 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.

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.

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.