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Railways ministry launches probe into Oracle India corruption case

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The Ministry of Railways has launched an investigation into allegations that US technology firm, Oracle’s Indian arm, paid bribes worth approximately $400,000 to officials of a railways public sector undertaking between 2016 and 2019.


The development comes after the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) fined Oracle $23 million for creating slush funds to bribe foreign officials in the United Arab Emirates, India, and Turkey, violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.


In an order dated September 27, the US regulator said Oracle India’s employees used “an excessive discount scheme” in connection with a transaction with a transportation company owned by the railways ministry in 2019.


“Regarding the SEC order in the Oracle case, Indian Railway has taken cognizance and has started an investigation,” the ministry said.


“This is an internal investigation by Indian Railways; currently, no other enforcement agencies are involved,” a senior railways official confirmed to Business Standard. However, the official declined to confirm the name of the state-owned firm embroiled in the controversy.


Transportation companies under the railways include major firms, such as the disinvestment-bound Container Corporation of India (CONCOR) and the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCC).


“A total of approximately $330,000 was funnelled to an entity with a reputation for paying SOE officials, and another $62,000 paid to an entity controlled by sales employees responsible for the transaction,” a part of SEC order read.

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