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Don't see RR engine deal probe as impact on forces, say officials

By Ians

Anthony orders probe in RR engine deal
New Delhi, March 3: The probe into alleged graft in the purchase of Rolls Royce engines for the Hawk advanced jet trainer (AJT) was only logical and must not be taken as leading to a no-aircraft scenario for the defence forces, a top Indian official said on Monday.

Reacting to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe ordered by Defence Minister A.K. Antony into the multi-million dollar deal, the official said the government would wait for the facts to emerge first.

"Let us not assume if there is no engine (from the deal) there will be no aircraft," the official, privy to the developments, said, referring to the purchase of the aero engines for Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).

The comments were sought on the purchases from Rolls Royce since 2007 and detention of arms dealer Sudhir Chaudhrie two weeks ago by Britain's Serious Frauds Office, which is probing alleged graft charges in the deal.

"It was only natural for the defence minister to ask the CBI to look into it," the official said, alluding to the fact that it was not clear yet as to whether there was link between Chaudhrie's detention and the Indian deal.

The comments came as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh landed in this Myanmar capital on Monday afternoon for the two-day, seven-nation BIMSTEC Summit.


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