An IAF AN-32 transport aircraft carrying security personnel taking off from an airbase

Kiev probing 'alleged kickbacks' in India's procurement of AN-32 aircraft spares: Ukraine suspects involvement of Indian officials, asked govt to help identify them: No conclusions can be drawn based on request without answers being given: Ukraine embassy

Ukrainian company at the heart of kickback scandal has accused third-party competitors of trying to undermine their relations with India. The Ukrainian firm SpetsTechnoExport is accused of paying Rs 17.5 crore kickbacks to Indian officials.

"Given the high competition on the international arms market, we often face third-party attempts to undermine our cooperation with Indian partners, which is accompanied by the dissemination of fictitious information in the media," read the company's statement.

Ukraine on Friday responded to a leading Indian daily's report about Kiev's probe into "alleged kickbacks" (of Rs 17.55 crore) in New Delhi's procurement of AN-32 aircraft spares, saying information it has sought from the Narendra Modi government is "confidential."

Citing records, the Indian Express said a Ukrainian anti-corruption agency "suspects the involvement of Indian defence ministry officials," since the state-owned arms export firm which signed the deal with the Indian government in late 2014, signed "another pact" -- a little less than a year later -- "with a little-known Global Marketing SP Ltd for its implementation."

The report adds that the Ukrainian agency asked the Indian home ministry for help in identifying these MoD officials. On Thursday, the day on which the report was published, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the article was "misleading", and that defence ministry officials or the Indian Air Force did not sign any agreement with Global Marketing SP Ltd.

A spokesperson for the Ukraine's embassy in India said "no conclusions can be drawn" based on the request made to the Indian government, "without answers being given".

"Authorities in Ukraine have not arrived at any conclusion about the accusations being made," the official said.

"This is a routine matter of classified information."

The spokesperson laid stress on Ukraine's satisfaction with the "levels of cooperation with Indian agencies," and said both nations "enjoy a fruitful, cooperative relationship".

People evacuated from flood-affected areas of Srinagar walking past an Indian Air Force AN-32 aircraft at an airport in Jammu on September 9, 2014. (Photo: Reuters)


The letter sent by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine specifically names one government official: Bharat Khera, who is Joint Secretary (Air, Ceremonial, Border Roads).

It says (see image above) that since the agreement between the Ukrainian arms export firm and Global Marketing SP Ltd "stipulated the provision of services (performance of work) related" to the firm's implementation of the 2014 deal, the officials of the Ministry of Defence (Air Force Headquarters) of India involved in the conclusion and implementation" of the first agreement, "including Mr Bharat Khera, might be witnesses of the above circumstances."

When asked about this, the Ukraine embassy official said this doesn't prove anything.