Secret IAF file goes missing, probe ordered

The secret files are related to the Offsets clause in the deal and were found on the roadside in a Delhi locality recently.

New Delhi: A secret file related to over
USD 11 billion deal for procuring 126 multi-role combat
aircraft went missing from the Defence Ministry and has been
found on the roadside here, prompting the Indian Air Force to
order a probe into the incident.

The secret files are related to the Offsets clause in
the deal and were found on the roadside in a Delhi locality
recently, IAF officials said here, adding that the file has
been recovered.

"The IAF has ordered a CoI into the loss of the secret
file which went missing from the Defence Ministry. The
Ministry will order a separate probe into the incident as the
file had gone missing from there," Air Vice Marshal M
Matheswaran, Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Operations) said
here.

The incident comes at a time when the multi-billion
dollar deal has entered the critical stage after the IAF
carried out extensive flight evaluation trials of the six
participating aircraft.

The IAF had submitted its report to the Defence
Ministry, which has to take a final call on the deal.
He said the IAF had ordered the probe under a senior
official to find out how the file had gone missing from the
Ministry as it belonged to the air force.

"The secret file has been recovered and it is in our
custody," he added.

However, it was not clear as to how and who recovered
the file.

Under the Offsets clause in the defence production
procedure, a foreign vendor bagging any deal worth over Rs 300
crore has to invest back at least 30 per cent of the
contract`s worth back in Indian defence sector.

Under the M-MRCA deal, the offsets were pegged at 50
per cent of the worth of the deal.

American F-16 and F/A-18, French Rafale, Swedish
Gripen, Russian MiG 35 and European Eurofighter are the six
contenders participating the deal for supplying the aircraft
to the IAF.

PTI