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Embraer: CBI lodges preliminary enquiry

rahul vaishnavi |

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday registered a preliminary enquiry to probe the alleged payment of bribes in the 2008 Embraer aircraft deal worth $ 208 million, officials said.

According to CBI sources, the enquiry will be conducted against unknown officials of Defence Ministry on a referencey that the company used services of middleman.

A preliminary enquiry is registered by the agency when the complaint is short on enough material to substantiate a prima facie criminality in its allegations. The CBI will examine all stakeholders, seek material related to the matter and then register an FIR against the suspects.

The Defence Ministry had on Wednesday sought a probe into the three-aircraft deal by the premier investigative agency.

The ministry had earlier 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.