India has filed a graft case against Britain’s BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce Holdings for “criminal conspiracy” in the procurement and licensed manufacturing of 123 Hawk 115 advanced jet trainers, a document showed.
The case is based on the findings of an investigation launched by India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2016, the federal police document dated May 23 said.
BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment on Monday.
India’s defence ministry also did not respond to a request for comment.
The document seen by Reuters said the manufacturers of the trainer jet paid commissions to middlemen, in violation of Indian defence contract rules, who helped them get the contracts by using “undue influence” on Indian government officials.
It also said that Rolls-Royce India and its officials entered into a criminal conspiracy with unknown officials of India’s defence ministry and two middlemen between 2003 and 2012 for contracts linked to the trainer jets.
India in 2005 signed a deal to buy 24 Hawk 115 advanced jet trainers for 734.21 million pounds ($926.65 million), and licensed manufacturing of 42 jets for 308.25 million pounds, along with the supply of materials and transfer of technology.
This was done, the CBI said in its document, “in lieu of huge bribes, commissions and kickbacks paid by the said manufacturer and its officers to intermediaries”.
Between 2008 and 2010, it said the Indian government approved the licensed manufacturing of an additional 57 jets for 95 billion rupees ($1.16 billion) under a separate agreement with BAE Systems (Operations) Ltd.
In 2012, Britain’s Serious Fraud Office launched an investigation into Rolls Royce for payments linked to transactions with countries including China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
Rolls Royce paid a fine of 497 million pounds to settle the case with the SFO in 2017.