Indian-American jailed for supplying controlled technology to India

June 17th, 2008 - 11:02 am ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, June 17 (IANS) An Indian-American businessman has been sentenced to 35 months in jail on charges of illegally exporting electronic parts to Indian defence entities involved in development of ballistic missiles, space launch vehicles and fighter jets. Parthasarathy Sudarshan, the CEO of Cirrus Electronics with offices in South Carolina, Singapore and Bangalore, was sentenced by the US District Court in Washington Monday after he pleaded guilty to the violations between 2002 to 2006, the US Justice Department said.

Sudarshan acquired electrical components with applications in missile guidance and firing systems in the US for the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), an enterprise within the Indian Department of Space, and Bharat Dynamics, Ltd (BDL), an enterprise within the Indian defence ministry, the prosecution alleged.

Sudarshan also admitted to acquiring microprocessors for the Tejas, a fighter jet under development in India, and illegally exporting 500 of them in 2004 and 2006 to the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), an enterprise within the Indian defence ministry responsible for the development of the jet.

The US government has determined that VSSC participates in India’s space launch vehicle programme and that BDL participates in India’s development and production of ballistic missiles, the Justice Department said in a statement.

“As such, both VSSC and BDL are on the Department of Commerce’s Entity List and exports of US-origin commodities to these entities are restricted and require prior authorization in the form of a license from the Department of Commerce,” it said.

Because the microprocessors are on the US Munitions List, the State Department must license any export of the products.

There were no export licenses for any of the shipments to VSSC BDL and ADE, it said.

Sudarshan, 47, from South Carolina, routed the products through his company’s Singapore office and then sent the packages on to India to further conceal from the US government that goods were going to entities in India on the Department of Commerce Entity List, according to the statement.

In particular, in the case of at least two US vendors, Sudarshan and others at Cirrus provided the US companies with fraudulent certificates that claimed that the end-users of these electrical components were non-restricted entities in India, when, in fact, the items were for VSSC, it alleged.

Sudarshan had many years of experience as an electrical engineer in the research and development section of India’s state-run defence industry before he emigrated to Singapore and started Cirrus in 1997, prosecutors said.

Sudarshan pleaded guilty as part of a deal with prosecutors in which he agreed to cooperate. He was one of four Cirrus defendants charged last year. The others were Mythili Gopal, the company’s international sales manager, A. K. N. Prasad in Bangalore and Sampath Sundar in Singapore.

According to the indictment, Cirrus made the illicit shipments working closely with an unidentified Indian government official located in Washington who was not charged.

The Indian embassy here had then rejected the charge saying “no official of the government of India has violated either Indian or US laws.”

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