India's Top Investigation Agency Files Case Against Rolls Royce Over Alleged Fraud in Hawk Aircraft Procurement

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a case against British aerospace company, Rolls Royce India Pvt Ltd, along with its director Tim Jones, and private individuals Sudhir Choudhrie and Bhanu Choudhrie, along with unidentified public servants and private individuals.

The case alleges a conspiracy to defraud the Government of India in the procurement of Hawk Aircraft from Rolls Royce plc, UK, and its associate group companies, including Rolls Royce Turbomeca Limited.

According to information, a preliminary inquiry was initiated into the matter in 2016. The inquiry was against Rolls Royce plc, Bhanu Choudhrie, unknown officials of the Ministry of Defence and others.

Rolls Royce
Rolls Royce Reuters

The investigation revealed that unknown officers of the Ministry of Defence, between 2003 and 2012 entered into a criminal conspiracy with Tim Jones, Director of Rolls Royce India Pvt. Ltd.; Sudhir Choudhrie; Bhanu Choudhrie; Rolls Royce plc, UK; British Aerospace Systerre UK; and others with an intention to cheat the Indian Government in the matter of procurement of Hawk Aircraft from Rolls Royce plc UK, and its associate group companies.

Hawk 115 Advance Jet Trainer

The CBI said that the unknown public servants misused their official positions and approved and procured 24 Hawk 115 Advance Jet Trainer (AJT) aircraft for GBP 734.21 million, besides permitting licence manufacturing of 42 additional aircraft by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) against materials supplied by the said manufacturer for an additional amount of USD 308.247 million for the said 42 License Manufactured aircraft and USD 7.5 million towards Manufacturer's Licence Fee, in lieu of huge bribes.

"Enquiry further revealed that vital documents pertaining to the said transaction were seized from the premises of Rolls Royce India Pvt. Ltd. during a Survey conducted by Income Tax Department in 2006-07, but the accused persons, in furtherance of the conspiracy and to evade investigation by Indian agencies, caused disappearance of such vital documents," said the CBI official.

Enquiry has revealed that the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), Ministry of Defence in the meeting held on September 3, 2003 approved procurement of 66 Hawk 115 Aircraft and signing of an Inter-Government Agreement between the Governments of India and UK for long-term product support.