Adani defence business ally, Alpha Design Technologies, has joint venture with Panama-hit Italian company

The Alpha Design-Adani Aero Defence agreement is to produce military drones in partnership with Israeli firm Elbit. The agreement was announced on March 30. Alpha Design’s Chairman Col HS Shankar told ET his company is in partnership with Adani Aero Defence.

On Alpha’s partnership with Elettronica, Shankar said the venture was “set up for a project that’s yet to take shape”. The Adani Group did not respond to questions from ET. Elettronica has denied any wrongdoing after the Panama Papers surfaced.

Elettronica’s name surfaced earlier this week after global media coverage of information on offshore accounts in Panama. Reports suggested that the Italian defence company had agreements to pay 5-17% commissions for Indian defence contracts. Elettronica has denied any wrongdoing.

The Italian firm has a 20% stake in an Indian JV — Alpha Elettronica Defence Systems Pvt Ltd — with Alpha Design. The Bengaluru-based JV started in 2007. In its latest annual report, dated September 2015, the company says a project to develop a “self-protection jammer system” was in the “final stages of testing and integration on the main platform”.

The Panama Papers refer to a marketing pact between Elettronica and an offshore firm Intertrade Projects, and it mentions self-protection jammers for the IAF’s Sukhoi 30MKI aircraft