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CBI closes Denel case after eight years of probe

CBI brought the curtains down on its eight-year-long probe into alleged corruption in the purchase of anti-materiel rifles from South African firm Denel as the allegations could not be substantiated.



New Delhi: CBI on Monday brought the curtains down on its eight-year-long probe into alleged corruption in the purchase of anti-materiel rifles from South African firm Denel as the allegations could not be substantiated.
The agency filed its closure report before the special CBI court in Patiala House.

CBI sources said the agency has received responses of judicial requests from South Africa, the UK, Isle of Man and Switzerland which did not show any evidence which could substantiate the allegations of corruption.

According to the sources, South Africa sent a detailed response to the agency which said that while some payments were made by Denel to Varas Associates, the alleged intermediary, but they were not for the deal of anti-materiel rifles which are used by the army for bursting bunkers.

In its FIR filed in 2005, the agency had alleged that Denel, owned by South African government, had paid kickbacks to Varas Associates for clinching the deal during the NDA government.

CBI had claimed that alleged pay-off to Varas were made under the heads of technical assistance and consultancy.

Last year, a team of CBI officers led by its then chief A P Singh and DIG Praveer Ranjan had gone to South Africa and met the officials there who have assured full cooperation to the agency.

The CBI has booked unknown employees of the Defence Ministry, Denel Limited, Varas Associates, a company based in the tax haven Isle of Man, and others.

It was alleged that Denel paid 12.75 per cent commission to Varas Associates for helping in securing contracts for the supply of anti-materiel rifles during NDA regime.

According to the Indian defence procurement laws, original equipment manufacturer should not involve any middlemen or intermediary for getting the contract.

The agency has registered the case under sections related to criminal conspiracy and cheating besides provisions under the Prevention of the Corruption Act.

PTI

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