CBI files closure report in Barak missile deal

New Delhi: The CBI today filed a closure report in a seven-year-old case of alleged bribery in the Rs 1,150 crore Barak missile deal in which former defence minister George Fernandes and the then naval chief Admiral Sushil Kumar were accused.

The agency filed a closure report before Special CBI court in Patiala House saying replies received from foreign countries do not substantiate the allegation of kickbacks levelled against the state-run company Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), former Samata Party officials Jaya Jaitley and RK Jain, Fernandes and Kumar.

CBI sources said judicial requests were sent to the United Kingdom, UAE, Mauritius, Germany and Israel seeking details of financial transactions and other details of accused persons involved in the case.

Former defence minister George Fernandes. Reuters

Former defence minister George Fernandes. Reuters

They said Israel, in its reply to Letter Rogatory, denied making any payments to clinch the deal. The country also refused to give any further details citing confidentiality.

The sources said replies from other countries also did not corroborate allegations levelled against IAI and other accused mentioned in the FIR.

During the probe here, CBI said it did not find any evidence on the allegations levelled during the sting operation carried out by Tehelka.

It was alleged that Fernandes' associate Jaya Jaitley and others had received a bribe of Rs 2 crore in the Rs 1,150 crore Barak missiles deal in 2000.

CBI had been pursuing the case from various angles but every investigation hit a hurdle as Israel did not cooperate despite several Letters Rogatory and requests made through diplomatic channels for providing details about certain companies, the sources said.

The sources said a decision was taken to close the case as there was no way that any headway could be made in the probe.

The CBI had filed an FIR in a designated court on 10 October 2006 alleging that a sum of Rs 2 crore was paid to Jaitley, who acted as an "agent" to clinch the deal to buy seven Barak anti-missile defence (AMD) systems from the Isaraeli firm. Jaya Jaitley was then president of Fernandes' Samata Party.

Jain, who was then treasurer of the Samata Party and was also named in the FIR, received a bribe of several lakhs, the CBI alleged.

The CBI had alleged that Kumar "colluded with other accused to put up a note" to Fernandes to import the Barak systems despite objections from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

Fernandes not only approved the proposal for import of Barak AMD Systems but tried to get the proposal approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security despite objection by the then defence secretary, the CBI had alleged in its FIR.

The proposal had also been processed on a single tender basis and the negotiated note of $268.63 million (whose rupee value at that time was Rs 1,125 crore) was also in excess of the earlier quoted rate by $17 million for which, there is no proper justification, the agency had said.

Sushil Kumar was made the chief of the naval staff after the dismissal of Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat for publicly opposing government's decision to appoint Vice Admiral Harinder Singh as deputy chief of the naval staff.

All of them had denied their involvement in the bribery case at that point of time.

PTI


Updated Date: Dec 24, 2013 18:45 PM

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