The Indian Air Force has decided to abandon plans to buy 38 more Pilatus PC-7 MkII planes from Switzerland and, instead, launched a fresh global hunt for basic trainers at a time when the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is probing an earlier deal with the Swiss plane maker for 75 aircraft, for alleged corruption and irregularities, two senior officials said on condition of anonymity on Friday.
The development is likely to delay the induction of much-needed basic trainer aircraft into the IAF, said one of the officials cited above.
Last month, CBI booked unnamed officials of the IAF and the defence ministry, Pilatus Aircraft Limited and absconding arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari for allegedly influencing the sale of 75 basic trainers ordered in 2012. The agency searched several premises in Delhi last month in connection with the case, including Bhandari’s office and residence.
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