New Delhi, January 17
A high-level probe has been initiated by the Ministry of Defence to find out whether mishandling of a sensitive file could have vitiated a proposed $ 11 billion fighter aircraft deal for the IAF. Sources termed the Defence Ministry probe as “comprehensive” and will be conducted by an additional secretary-rank official. He is expected to submit his findings to the Defence minister AK Antony by the month-end, sources said today. The defence ministry will ask all the stakeholders in the case to prove that the deal was not affected in any way by the loss of the secret file, which was recovered from a roadside in South Delhi. Meanwhile, an Indian Air Force probe into the missing file case has reportedly given a clean chit to its officials. The file was found on the roadside here. It created a stir as it pertained to the $ 11 billion deal to procure 126 fighters for the IAF.
The Court of Inquiry (CoI) report into the incident, submitted to the Defence Ministry today, is believed to have given a clean chit to the IAF officials.
The file related to the offsets proposal for the fighter jets that fall in the category of Medium-Multi-role Combat Aircraft (M-MRCA).
The deal is at a critical stage as the IAF has submitted its final report after carrying out extensive field trials. Six global companies are in the race. Two US companies, three European companies and one Russian firm are competing.