A criminal case has been filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to probe money-laundering charges in an alleged corruption case against Rolls Royce. The London-based automobile company is said to have made a payment of over INR 77 Crore (over USD 10 million) as commission to an agent to win contracts from Public Sector Units (PSUs) – HAL, ONGC and GAIL between 2007-2011. The case has been booked under provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The complaint alleged that the total business of HAL with Rolls Royce was around Rs 4,700 crore (~USD34 billion) between 2000 to 2013. The action came after a five-year-long inquiry conducted by Central Bureau of investigation (CBI). The inquiry was initiated on the basis of a complaint from the defence ministry that had received a letter about the engagement. Rolls Royce and its Indian subsidiary, Singapore-based Ashok Patni and his company Aashmore Pvt Ltd, and Mumbai-based Turbotech Energy Services International Pvt Ltd, besides unidentified officials of PSUs – Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and GAIL were booked by the CBI for criminal conspiracy and bribery.
The ED will probe if these alleged corrupt practices led to the generation of slush funds which were laundered to create personal assets. Rollys Royce has denied the allegations and has said it will not tolerate business misconduct of any sort and it is committed to maintain high ethical standards. “India is an important market for Rolls-Royce and the company has a valued workforce of skilled people in the country,” a company spokesperson had said.
The company has said it would “respond appropriately” to the charges. It added the case had been lodged against the use of intermediaries by Rolls Royce’s former energy business in India. “This is not about our defence, civil aerospace or power systems businesses,” it said.
Date: 23 Sept 2019
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