Indian guilty in US-India arms deal
Reuters, Mar 13, 2008
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The owner of an electronics company pleaded guilty on Thursday to conspiracy to illegally export sensitive computer components, including missile technology, to India, the U.S. Justice Department said.
Parthasarathy Sudarshan, 47, admitted he took part in a scheme to provide the parts to government entities in India that develop missiles, space launch vehicles and fighter jets, department officials said.
According to court documents, Sudarshan did business as Cirrus Electronics and said he was the chief executive officer, managing director, president and group head. It has offices in Simpsonville, South Carolina; Singapore; and Bangalore, India.
He had many years of experience as an electrical engineer in the research and development section of India's state-run defense industry, before he emigrated to Singapore and started Cirrus in 1997, the officials said.
"By fraudulently acquiring and shipping controlled missile technology overseas, this defendant violated both our federal law and our national security," Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Wainstein said in a statement.
Among the recipients of the U.S. technology were the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre and Bharat Dynamics -- key state agencies in India's space and defense sectors.
Between 2002 and 2006, Sudarshan acquired in the United States electrical components that have applications in missile guidance and firing systems, but concealed the true destination of the parts, the officials said.
They said he also acquired microprocessors for a fighter jet under development in India. The microprocessors were necessary for navigation and weapons systems and were shipped without the required export licenses, the officials said.
Sudarshan pleaded guilty as part of a deal with prosecutors in which he agreed to cooperate. Sentencing has been scheduled for June 16 and he faces up to five years in prison, though he could get less because of his cooperation.
Sudarshan was one of four Cirrus defendants charged last year. The others were Mythili Gopal, the company's international sales manager, Akn 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.
In a separate case, a Minnesota company, MTS Systems Corp, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years of probation and fined $400,000 for submitting false export license applications involving proposed shipments to India of equipment to test nuclear power plant components, officials said.
(Editing by David Alexander and Mohammad Zargham)