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Embraer under scanner after bribery allegations reported

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Three days after accusations of enticements in a deal between the world’s third largest commercial aircraft maker, Embraer and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) were made public by a Brazilian paper, DRDO’s chief, S Christopher met defence minister Manohar Parrikar on September 12, briefing him on India’s airborne early warning and control (AWE&C) systems project based on the Embraer-145 plane.

India has set a 15-day deadline for the Brazilian aircraft maker to submit a report on the allegations. It is asserted that a UK-based middleman may have been paid bribes to influence the deal, which is not permissible in defence business in India.

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Signed during the UPA regime, Embraer had sold three EMB 145 AEW&C (Airborne Early Warning and Control) aircraft to the DRDO in the year 2008 in the $208 million deal. The first two made-to-order aircraft were delivered in 2012, and the third aircraft later. The planes supplied by Brazil have been fitted with indigenous radars to serve as AEW&C aircraft for the Indian Air Force under a Rs 2,400-crore project to develop a new range of early warning and control aircraft.  The Government of India may ask CBI to probe into the matter if evidence of criminality is detected.

A fresh boycotting policy for arms contractors, with new penalties, has been drafted, debarring firms from conducting business with the government for a period ranging from one to 10 years. The provisions can be raised in case criminality and evidence of bribery is proved. In 2014, India terminated a contract with AgustaWestland to supply 12 VVIP helicopters, following bribe allegations.

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