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Pilatus aircraft deal: Sanjay Bhandari's office, residence raided; Corruption case registered


New Delhi, June 22: The CBI has reportedly carried out raids at the residence and office of arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari in connection with the case pertaining to alleged corruption in procurement of Pilatus trainer aircraft.

The case pertains to Rs 2,896 crore deal for 75 Pilatus Aircraft which was signed in May 2012.

File photo of Sanjay Bhandari

The CBI has registered a case against unknown officials of Indian Air Force, Ministry of Defence and Delhi-based arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari for alleged corruption in procurement of 75 Pilatus basic trainer aircraft in 2009, officials reportedly said on Saturday.

The CBI also carried out out searches at the residence and office of Bhandari in connection with the deal, officials said. Switzerland-based Pilatus Aircraft Ltd has also been named as an accused by the CBI in the case pertaining to the charges of irregularities and bribe of Rs 339 crore in the procurement, the agency said.

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According to reports, on May 16, 2011, when the ministry of defence (MoD) opened the commercial bids for 75 basic trainers, Pilatus' closest rival, Korea Aerospace Industries, strongly protested that Pilatus had submitted an incomplete bid and should be disqualified. South Korea's defence minister personally wrote to his Indian counterpart, AK Antony, requesting a "high-level review". Overruling these objections, the MoD awarded Pilatus the contract.

Earlier in 2018, as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probed Bhandari over a 2012 deal for 75 Pilatus PC-7 aircraft costing 2,896 crore, the Defence Ministry had ordered the suspension of all business dealings with Bhandari's firms for six months or until further order.

The Defence Ministry has indefinitely banned all business dealings with a company owned by fugitive arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari.

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