In the case, “criminal conspiracy” is alleged to have taken place in the acquisition and authorised production of 123 advanced jet trainers.
According to the document, the case is based on the results of an inquiry that India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) initiated in 2016.
In the document reviewed by Reuters, the trainer jet makers have been accused of violating Indian defence contract laws by paying unauthorised commissions to middlemen who helped get the contract by exerting “undue influence” on the officials of the Indian government.
Additionally, it claimed that between 2003 and 2012, Rolls-Royce India and its executives engaged in a criminal conspiracy for contracts involving trainer jets with two middlemen and unidentified members of the Indian defence ministry.
Responding to the development, Rolls-Royce said that the investigation is related to allegations that were disclosed in 2017.
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At that time, the company paid £497m ($613.26m) in fines to the UK’s Serious Fraud Office to resolve a case involving transactions in countries, including China, India, and Thailand.
The company is cooperating with Indian authorities in their investigation, a Rolls-Royce representative said, adding that it was now “a fundamentally different business”.
“We will not tolerate business misconduct of any sort and are committed to maintaining high ethical standards,” the representative was quoted by the news agency as saying.
BAE responded by stating that it would be improper to comment on an ongoing investigation.
A request for comment was not answered by the Indian defence ministry.
In 2005, India agreed to purchase 24 Hawk 115 advanced jet trainers for £734.21m ($905.96m), as well as a production licence for 42 jets worth £308.25m ($380.36m), along with the provision of materials and knowledge transfer.
This was done, according to the CBI, “in lieu of huge bribes, commissions and kickbacks paid by the said manufacturer and its officers to intermediaries”.
In a separate arrangement with BAE Systems (Operations) between 2008 and 2010, the Indian government authorised the licenced manufacturing of an additional 57 jets for Rs95bn ($1.15bn), the CBI said.
With the document filed, the authorities have taken the first step to commence a formal trial.