Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has initiated a criminal inquiry into Tata Group’s steel-making business in the country and is examining documents pertaining to around 500 customers of the Indian origin company including Rolls-Royce and BAE, according to a news report.
The allegations surfaced after the company referred itself for an internal audit which revealed that the company’s Yorkshire staff falsified certificates detailing the composition of the product before they were sold.
At a time when Tata Steel has decided to exit its steel business in the UK, such an investigation can possibly put a spanner into the sale that might affect thousands of jobs.
The SFO investigation is understood to be primarily around the quality of steel and its composition.
There is also a trading standards investigation, but it is unknown whether they are linked, The Telegraph reported.
Auditors have found documents that show inappropriate testing and certification was done, leading to suspension of nine employees of the company. However, none of this has caused any safety concerns.
Both the SFO and Tata declined to comment, while a Rolls-Royce spokesperson said, “We were made aware of an issue by Tata last year. We have not been contacted by the SFO and cannot comment on any investigation.”
Tata Steel UK employs about 15,000 people.
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