08/04/2016 11:37 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST

Tata Steel UK Under Britain's Serious Fraud Office Scanner

Tata Group chairman, Cyrus Mistry addresses the 10th Annual General Meeting of Tata Consultancy Services in Mumbai on June 27, 2013. India's biggest IT outsourcing firm, Tata Consultancy Services, popularly known as TCS and part of the steel-to-tea Tata conglomerate, counts blue-chip companies such as British Airways, Microsoft and Sony among its main clients. AFP PHOTO/ Indranil MUKHERJEE (Photo credit should read INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)

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.

Read the full story here.

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