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CBI set to file closure report in Barak missile deal

Seven years after registering a case of alleged bribe in purchase of Barak missiles from Israel, the CBI is all set to file a closure report in the case.

New Delhi: Seven years after registering a case of alleged bribe in purchase of Barak missiles from Israel, the CBI is all set to file a closure report in the case which had named former Defence Minister George Fernandes and the then Naval Chief Admiral Sushil Kumar.

The case, which was a fall out of a Tehelka expose on defence scams, had also named Fernandes` associate Jaya Jaitley and others for allegedly receiving a bribe of Rs two crore in the Rs 1,150 crore Barak missiles deal in 2000.

CBI had been pursuing the case from various angles but every investigation hit a hurdle as Israel did not cooperate despite several Letters Rogatory and requests made through diplomatic channels for providing details about certain companies, official sources said today.

The sources said a decision was being taken now to close the case as there was no way that any headway could be made in the probe.

They said the closure report would be filed in the court and a final decision whether or not to close it would be taken by the judge.

Responding to queries regarding media reports in this regard, CBI spokesperson said, "The matter is under examination and no closure has been filed in the court till date."

The CBI had filed an FIR in a designated court on October 10, 2006 alleging that a sum of Rs two crore was paid to Jaitley, who acted as an "agent" to clinch the Rs 1,150-crore deal to buy seven Barak anti-missile defence systems from state-run Israel Aircraft Industries. Jaitley was then president of Fernandes` Samata Party.

R K Jain, who was then treasurer of the Samata Party and was also named in the FIR, received a bribe of several lakhs, the CBI alleged.

The CBI had alleged that former naval chief Kumar "colluded with other accused to put up a note" to Fernandes to import the Barak systems despite objections from the Defence Research and Development Organisation(DEDO).

Fernandes not only approved the proposal for import of Barak AMD Systems but tried to get the proposal approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security despite objection by the then Defence Secretary, the CBI had alleged in its FIR.
The proposal had also been processed on a single tender basis and the negotiated note of 268.63 million dollar (whose rupee value at that time was Rs 1,125 crore) was also in excess of the earlier quoted rate by 17 million dollars for which, there is no proper justification, the agency said.
Sushil Kumar was made the Chief of the Naval Staff after the dismissal of Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat. All of them had denied their involvement in the case at that point of time.

From Zee News

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