CBI books fugutive arms dealer Bhandari for gratification in ONGC contract

In more troubles for fugitive arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari, who is also being probed in Rahul Gandhi’s brother-in-law Robert Vadra’s alleged London properties case, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday said that it has registered a case against him and his company Santech International for alleged illegal gratification in award of contract for OPAL project in Gujarat’s Dahej, officials said.

Along with Bhandari the CBI has also booked two international firms namely Samsung Engineering Corporation Ltd (SECL), South Korea and Foster Wheeler Energy Ltd, UK, Hong NamKoong, the then senior manager, SECL, South Korea, unknown officials of ONGC/OPaL and unknown others on the allegations that Bhandari acted in criminal conspiracy with other accused and in furtherance of the said conspiracy entered into a consultancy agreement with SECL in violation of the contract agreement between OPaL and SECL, a CBI official said.

The CBI official said that Bhandari allegedly obtained $49,99,969 from SECL in the overseas bank account of his Dubai-based firm Santech International in order to induce unknown public servants to show alleged undue favour to the consortium of SECL in the award of contract of DFCU project at Dahej, Gujarat.

The CBI said that it was further alleged that the said agreement was relating to the consultancy services to be provided by Santech International FZC to SECL for obtaining the said contract.

Bhandari, who is wanted in India was raided first by Income Tax department in 2015. He was booked by Delhi Police in an Official Secret Act (OSA) case. He fled India in October 2016.

He is also being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a petro-chemical complex which ONGC decided to build a special economic zone in 2008.

ONGC commissioned SECL to build a part of the project.

SECL had hired Bhandari’s Dubai based firm. The contract was awarded to SECL in December 2008 and the company paid Santech $49,90,000 in June 2009.

In July last year, the CBI has registered a criminal case against unknown officials of Indian Air Force (IAF), Defence Ministry, Bhandari and officials of Swiss based plane maker Pilatus Aircraft Ltd on charges of alleged corruption in the Rs 2,985 crore deal of 75 basic air trainer aircrafts for the Indian Air Force in 2009.

Bhandari is also already under the scanner of the ED on charges of purchasing benami properties in London on behalf of Vadra.

It is alleged that the said, half a dozen, properties were purchased by money allegedly received as kickbacks for various defence and other (including a petroleum) deal struck during UPA tenure.