Another financial scandal, this time in the defence sector and allegedly involving Ministry of Defence (MoD) officials, to the tune of $2.6 million or ₹17.55 crore in form of kickbacks to the officials, has come to light, according to a report in The Indian Express.
Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NAB) is probing the alleged kickbacks in New Delhi’s purchase of spares for its AN-32 planes, which are the mainstay of the medium-lift air transport division of the Indian Air Force.
The Indian Express wrote: “On February 13, this year, according to records accessed by The Indian Express, the sent a “request for international legal assistance” to the Ministry of Home Affairs via the Indian envoy in Kiev. This sought identification of the Defence Ministry officials who participated in the negotiations, development, signing and implementation of the contract.”
NAB grew suspicious as almost 11 months after Ukrainian state-run Spetstechnoexport signed the agreement with Ministry of Defence (Air Force Headquarters) on November 26, 2014 for supply of spares to Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, the Ukrainian firm signed another pact with a company called Global Marketing SP Ltd of which very little is known.
“Spetstechnoexport transferred $2.6 million of budget funds to the account of Global Marketing opened in the UAE,” wrote The Indian Express.
Since both sides had already sealed the contract in November 2014, a later deal in August, 2015 looks extremely suspicious.
The Indian Express wrote: “The NAB has sought information, among others, on the involvement of Global Marketing in the ‘conclusion and/or implementation of the contract’; contacts, if any, between defence ministry officials with Global Marketing’s representatives; factors that influenced the ‘timeliness and completeness of payments’; and, Global Marketing’s involvement in the signing of ‘supplementary agreements’.”
The Ukrainian investigators have written to Noor Islamic Bank in Dubai to throw light on transfer of funds between August 2015 and January 2018 from Global Marketing’s account as well as details of IP addresses from which the account was accessed.
“The Indian Express sent emails to NAB official D Lytvynenko on April 13 and April 16 and a phone call to him on April 27 but no comment was received…The Indian Express sent a message to the MoD spokesperson who was unavailable for comment,” the newspaper wrote.