CBI Registers Case Against Sudhir Choudhrie, Rolls-Royce, and British Aerospace Systems Over Alleged Irregularities in Hawk Aircraft Deal


The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has initiated legal proceedings against Sudhir Choudhrie, an arms dealer, as well as British defense companies Rolls-Royce Plc and British Aerospace Systems. The case pertains to alleged irregularities in the acquisition of 24 Hawk 115 advanced jet trainer aircraft for the Indian Air Force and Navy between 2003 and 2012, according to anonymous sources familiar with the matter. According to the sources, kickbacks were reportedly paid to middlemen, in violation of the agreements, integrity pact, and associated documents that expressly prohibited such payments.

While Rolls-Royce Plc’s office in London issued a statement stating that the company is cooperating with Indian authorities, British Aerospace Systems has not provided any comments at the time of reporting. Sudhir Choudhrie, a British citizen with a history of involvement in defense deals, has previously been investigated by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate. However, both cases were closed due to insufficient evidence. In a separate case in 2018-19, Rolls-Royce was also investigated for alleged dubious payments made in the form of commissions to secure contracts from three Indian state-run companies.

The recent case, registered on May 23 following a preliminary inquiry, includes the names of Rolls Royce India’s director Tim Jones, Sudhir Choudhrie’s son Bhanu Choudhrie, and unidentified public servants. The CBI’s first information report alleges that during the period from 2003 to 2012, unknown officers of the Ministry of Defense conspired with the aforementioned individuals and entities to deceive the Government of India in the procurement of Hawk aircraft from Rolls-Royce and its associated companies. The total value of the 24 aircraft is stated to be approximately £734.21 million (around ₹7,400 crore). The investigation into this case marks another significant development in the ongoing efforts to uncover corruption and misconduct in defense deals within India.


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