The purchase of 262 Israeli-manufactured Barak surface-to-air missiles to the Indian military was approved by the Indian government this week, after a long-running corruption case was closed by India’s Central Bureau of Investigation.
The sale, held up since 2006, was formally given the go-ahead on Monday by Indian’s Defense Acquisitions Council, The Indian Express reported on Tuesday, at a cost of almost NIS 500 million ($143 million).
Barak missile systems, manufactured jointly by Israeli Aerospace Industries Ltd. and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., are installed on several Indian navy warships, which were “facing operational risks” due to the lack of replacement missiles, the paper reported.
The Barak missile bribery scandal, which was first investigated in 2001 and also involved other purchases by the Indian military, rocked India’s military and led to several high-profile arrests after the official corruption probe was opened in 2006.
The CBI said this week it was closing the case due to “paucity of evidence.” Among those implicated were former minister of defense George Fernandes and former Indian navy chief of staff Sushil Kumar.
In 2012, India placed a 10-year moratorium on deals with Israel Military Industries and five other firms as part of a bribery scandal dating back to 2009.