In a major development, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a case against Congress president Rahul Gandhi's brother-in-law Robert Vadra's close aide and arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari on charges of irregularities and corruption in the procurement of 75 Pilatus PC-7 basic trainer aircraft in 2009.
Before registering the case, the CBI had also carried out a preliminary enquiry against Sanjay Bhandari in the Pilatus defence deal.
This has come days after the Ministry of Defence banned all business dealings for an indefinite period of time with the fugitive arms dealer. Sanjay Bhandari is being probed in Robert Vadra's alleged London properties case. Ministry of Defence barred his company Offsets India Solutions (OIS) earlier in February 2018 for six months but in the new order, it was suspended until any further decision.
Furthermore, the CBI has also registered the case against unknown officials of Indian Air Force (IAF) and Ministry of Defence, along with Swizz based Pilatus Aircraft Ltd in the matter.
Fugitive arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari is wanted in India for alleged breach of foreign exchange rules and kickbacks in defence deals. He was booked by the Enforcement Directorate in 2016 based on an Income Tax Department and Delhi police complaint of his alleged indulgence in dubious defence deals and land deals. He has been allegedly involved in multiple defence deals during the UPA regime and has allegedly received kickbacks (to the tune of 339 crore) in a defence deal.
Earlier on December 27, 2017, the Enforcement Directorate seized assets worth Rs 26.61 crore of Bhandari for holding undisclosed assets abroad. The investigation conducted so far has also revealed routing of funds in various companies of Bhandari through accommodation entries provided by shell companies.
In 2016, the Delhi Police registered a case against Bhandari under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) in connection with the recovery of confidential Defence Ministry documents from his house in South Delhi's Defence Colony.
Earlier on April 5, Republic TV tracked down the whereabouts of Sanjay Bhandari in London, who fled the country in 2016. In London, Bhandari is operating under his family's name.
(With agency inputs)