Seven others too figure in preliminary enquiry on chopper deal
The Central Bureau of Investigation on Monday registered a preliminary enquiry against 11 persons, including the former IAF Chief, Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi, and his cousins, besides four companies, in connection with the alleged payment of kickbacks by Italian firm AgustaWestland through middlemen in India to bag the Rs. 3,600-crore deal for supply of 12 VVIP helicopters.
The PE, instituted based on documents procured by the CBI from Italy, mentions the names of the former IAF chief’s cousins Julie, Docsa and Sandeep Tyagi.
Their names had cropped up during a probe by the Italian agencies. The former IAF chief has already denied his role in the matter.
According to the PE, the agency suspects that Finmeccanica, parent company of AgustaWestland, paid a commission to European intermediaries, including Christian Michel, through whom payments in instalments were made to Indian nationals to ensure that the contract for supply of choppers was awarded to the company.
The bribe money was transferred allegedly through two Indian companies IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix, which have been named in the PE, besides Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland.
The former Finmeccanica head, Giuseppe Orsi, and the former AgustaWestland Chief Executive Officer, Bruno Spagnolini, have also been named.
The Italian investigation report mentions that money was given on a monthly basis through front companies allegedly in the garb of software development contracts. According to Italian agencies, payments running into several million euros were made by AgustaWestland between 2007 and 2012 to IDS Tunisia and the money was routed to its Indian arm against alleged fake bills.
The CBI will also probe the role of Aeromatrix, whose then directors Guido Ralph Haschke and Ferdinando Carlo Valentino Gerosa have been mentioned in the PE as suspected middlemen. Mr. Haschke also purportedly worked as consultant for Finmeccanica.
Besides, the CBI will examine the role of Indian lawyer Gautam Khaitan, who was earlier a director with Aeromatrix, and its CEO Praveen Bakshi during the enquiry. Those named have denied their role in the chopper deal. “As and when necessary, we may examine those named in the PE,” said an official.