Rolls Royce faces probe over India deals

Rolls Royce says it is aware of the investigation stating it will ‘respond appropriately’. (Rolls Royce pic)

NEW DELHI: Indian investigators have launched a criminal probe into millions of dollars paid by a Rolls Royce energy firm to an intermediary in connection with deals with state-owned firms in the South Asian nation, according to documents seen by AFP.

A complaint filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation, a federal agency, alleged about US$11 million was improperly paid to a Singapore-based consultant.

The document said officials from the Indian firms – Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and natural gas giant GAIL – could have been involved in corruption in the deals carried out around 2009.

It said the money paid to Ashok Patni, director of Singapore-based firm Aashmore Private, could have been used for “paying kickbacks” to officials.

Patni’s appointment as an “advisor” was a violation of the agreement between Rolls Royce and the government companies, the complaints said.

Rolls Royce provided engine parts to HAL to service gas turbines used by GAIL and ONGC in their energy businesses.

Rolls Royce sold its energy business to German giant Siemens in 2014.

It said in a statement that it was aware of the investigation, was awaiting an approach from the CBI and would “respond appropriately”.

“We will not tolerate business misconduct of any sort and we are committed to maintaining high ethical standards and no-one currently working for Rolls-Royce in India played any part in these energy deals,” said the statement, which called India “an important market for Rolls-Royce”.