22 June 2019
The Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) has booked arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari (in the picture) and others in connection with the alleged corruption in the $416 million deal of 75 Pilatus basic trainer aircraft for the Indian Air Force in 2009. The CBI has also booked some officials of the Indian Air Force, the Defence Ministry and Switzerland-based Pilatus Aircraft Limited. The Swiss company was one of the bidders for the contract floated in 2009. The company dishonestly and fraudulently signed a Service Provider Agreement with Bhandari in June 2010, in violation of the Defence Procurement Procedure, 2008. CBI has alleged that the company paid CHF 1,000,000 to Offset India Solution Private Limited with the Standard Chartered Bank, New Delhi in two tranches in August and October, 2010.
Arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari and Bimal Sareen, are directors of Offset India Solutions Private Limited. The Swiss company also paid another $50 million into the bank accounts of Dubai-based Offset India Solutions FZC, also belonging to Bhandari.
Pilatus was awarded the contract on May 24, 2012 for $416 million. The company deliberately concealed the existence of service provider agreement with Bhandari.
Bhandari has been allegedly involved in multiple defence deals during the previous Congress regime. It was alleged that the money received by him as kickbacks was passed through shell companies and used to purchase properties now owned by Priyanka Gandhi’s husband, Robert Vadra.
Indian national oil company, ONGC commissioned Samsung Engineering to build a part of a petrochemical complex in 2008.   Samsung hired Sanjay Bhandari’s Dubai based firm Santech International FZC and paid it $5 million. The money was used to buy a property in London. The properties are now owned by C Thampi, reportedly a close aide of Robert Vadra.
During the three-month hearing Enforcement Directorate also informed the court about other properties whose beneficial owner was Robert Vadra.
Bhandari fled the country in December 2016 and Indian law enforcement agencies believe he is hiding in London. Besides Bhandari, the CBI has also booked his companies Offset India Solutions Pvt. Ltd, Offset India Solutions FZC, UAE, Aggarwal, Verma, Sareen and unknown others for criminal conspiracy, cheating and provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act, they said. India Today reported.