Trouble mounts for Robert Vadra as CBI registers case in Pilatus aircraft deal
Fresh trouble is brewing for Robert Vadra as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered an FIR in connection with the Pilatus aircraft deal which took place during the UPA regime.
The case has been registered against unknown officials of the Indian Air Force (IAF), the Ministry of Defence, Vadra's close associate Sanjay Bhandari and Swiss-based Pilatus Aircraft Ltd. on the charges of irregularities and corruption.
Vadra has not been named in the FIR but the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has questioned him in the past in connection with the Pilatus deal while investigating the London properties case.
It has been alleged that kickbacks worth around Rs 339 crore was paid to Bhandari's company in the procurement of 75 basic trainer aircraft in 2008-2009. The investigative agencies maintained that the kickbacks were used to buy benami properties for Vadra in London.
The CBI also conducted raids at several premises related to Bhandari and seized incriminating documents and articles.
The email correspondence between Sanjay Bhandari, Summit Chadha (London-based relative of Sanjay), Manoj Arora and Robert Vadra showed that he (Vadra) had a keen interest in this property and was interested in knowing all about the renovation work that was being carried out.
The ED had informed the court about properties whose beneficial owner was Robert Vadra, this included two houses in London worth 5 million pounds, 4 million pounds and six flats.
Pilatus deal and connection with Robert Vadra:
The Pilatus deal was for basic trainer aircraft for the IAF. The deal involved the purchase of 75 Pilatus PC-7 basic trainer aircraft. The deal was worth Rs 2,896 crore. In 2008, Bhandari set up Offset Solutions. In 2010, Offset signed a deal with Pilatus.
Documents with the investigative agencies showed that in total 7,50,000 Swiss francs were paid by Pilatus to Bhandari for consultancy. This period also coincided with the time when Bhandari was purchasing real estate in London.