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Indo-Canadian businessman claims he bribed Praful Patel

Last updated on: February 3, 2012 22:28 IST

Indo-Canadian businessman claims he bribed Praful Patel

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Ajit Jain

Nazir Karigar, an Ottawa-based Indo-Canadian entrepreneur, claimed he bribed Heavy Industries Minister and former aviation minister Praful Patel and Air India officials in 2005, to get a $100 million contract for his company CryptoMetric, says a report in The Globe and the Mail.

However, there is no evidence that Patel accepted the bribe from Karigar, the report noted.

Karigar, 64, who claimed he paid the bribe to supply a facial-recognition security system to Air India has reportedly been charged by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act, a law that prohibits the payment of bribes abroad. The Globe report also says he claimed the involvement of former Mumbai police chief Hasan Gafoor, the then chief of Air India security, in rigging a contract worth $100 million.

In 2005, when Air India floated two global tenders for the face recognition system, Gafoor reportedly tipped off his childhood friend Karigar, about the carrier's plans. Karigar, on behalf of CryptoMetrics, claimed he paid $250,000 to Patel through Maharashtra Water Supplies Minister Laxmanrao Dhoble, said the Mail.

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Image: Heavy Industries Minister and former aviation minister Praful Patel
Photographs: Reuters

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In an interview with the daily, Gafoor said he had left Air India when the contract was still up for grabs, and that the airline ultimately abandoned its plans for the system. "CryptoMetrics didn't get it, nor did anything come of it," he was quoted as saying.

Patel told the Mail that the allegations against him were "baseless and false".

The case is to come up for hearing in the Ontario Superior Court, Ottawa, in September. Karigar's defence lawyer Martin Reesink said, "The charges against him are going to be very difficult to prove, because right now, as the law stands, the government is required to prove that link and I am not sure how they can prove it."

According to the report, the case came to light in 2007 when Karigar allegedly told Anne Dube, the Canadian trade commissioner in Mumbai, that he had bribed Patel. The diplomat informed her superiors, prompting the RCMP probe, revealed the report.


Image: Former Mumbai police chief Hasan Gafoor
Photographs: File pic

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