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Indian Defence Ministry Embroiled in Ukraine’s Corruption Investigation, Bofors Deja Vu for India

Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Bureau is investigating the role of Indian Defence Ministry officials in huge amount of money being taken for facilitating India’s purchase of spares for military transport aircraft An-32. An Indian Express report said the kickbacks involved is around Rs 17.55 crore (175.5 million). The Soviet-origin An-32 aircrafts are deployed in the eastern and northern borders to maintain and supply troops. It is used the most in IAF transport, disaster-relief and special operations missions.

The discrepency caught attention when Ukranian state-run Spetstechnoexport signed a second pact with Global Marketing SP Ltd. This was 11 months after Spetstechnoexport signed a similar pact with Ministry of Defence (Air Force Headquarters) on November 26, 2014 for supply of spares to Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NAB) thinks that Indian Defence officials might have witnessed the sealing of the second deal that was uncalled for. The second deal was signed with Global Marketing on August 13, 2015. It was found that Spetstechnoexport had transferred $2.6 million of budget funds to the account of Global Marketing opened in the UAE. Chief Unit of Detectives of the NAB have sought an explanation for this from Ministry of Defence (MoD) officials.

According to the report, the NAB has requested Ministry of Home Affairs for ‘international legal assistance’ through the Indian envoy in Kiev on February 13, 2018. It asked for the information on the Ministry of Defence (MoD) officials who participated in the negotiations, development, signing and implementation of the contract. In a deal that reminds Indians of the infamous Bofors scandal, where kickbacks were recieved to help bank Bofors AB to illegally win the bid to supply India’s 155 mm field howitzer, Ukraine’s investigation is ringing alarm bells already.

NAB has written to Noor Islamic Bank in Dubai to provide information about the movement of funds between August 2015 and January 2018 from Global Marketing’s account as well as details of IP addresses from which the said account was accessed.

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