VADODARA: CBI may probe the $208 million Embraer aircraft deal if any criminality is indicated in the internal probe already ordered, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said today.
He said he has sought a report from DRDO by tomorrow and only after that he could make a proper statement on the issue. “We are investigating the matter. The investigation is going on… I am not going to give a knee-jerk reaction,” Mr Parrikar told reporters while responding to questions over the deal that has run into a controversy.
“If there is a criminal angle, then we can give it (probe) to CBI. The Defence Ministry cannot investigate criminal angle,” he said when asked whether the probe would be handed over to CBI.
He said if only procedural issues are involved, then the Defence Ministry can do an internal investigation.
The deal for purchase of three Brazilian aircraft Embraer in 2008 during the UPA regime has kicked up dust with US authorities going into alleged payment of kickbacks.
The deal has come under the scanner of the US Justice Department which has been probing Embraer for alleged payment of bribes to secure contracts.
“DRDO has sought information from manufacture of Embraer aircraft within 15 days on media reports on aircraft deal signed in 2008,” Defence Ministry sources have said, adding “On receipt of information by the DRDO, further steps may be initiated.”
The deal was signed in 2008 between Embraer and the DRDO for three aircraft equipped with indigenous radars for AEW&C (airborne early warning and control systems).