The Central Bureau of Investigation has frozen the bank accounts of the former Indian Air Force chief, S.P. Tyagi, and his cousins —Julie, Docsa and Sandeep Tyagi — who have been booked in the VVIP chopper scam, as part of the probe into the allegations of payment of bribe by AgustaWestland to clinch the deal.

The accounts of the Mohali-based IDS Infotech and Chandigarh-based Aeromatrix, through which a huge portion of the bribe was purportedly transferred by middlemen in the garb of engineering contracts, have already been sealed.

CBI sources said on Tuesday that similar action had been taken against IDS Infotech chairman Satish Bagrodia, managing director Pratap Aggarwal, Aeromatrix chief executive officer Praveen Bakshi and lawyer Gautam Khaitan.

The CBI probe has revealed that during his tenure, the former IAF chief had approved reducing the service ceiling of VVIP helicopters from 6,000 to 4,500 metres, a decision that had been consistently opposed by the IAF for security reasons. This relaxation, the agency suspects, opened the doors for AgustaWestland to bid for the contract for supply of 12 helicopters.

Among those booked in the case are the then CEO of AgustaWestland’s parent company Finmeccanica Giuseppe Orsi, the then CEO of the United Kingdom-based AgustaWestland Bruno Spagnolini and alleged middlemen Guido Ralph Haschke, Carlo Valentino Ferdinando Gerosa and Christian Michel.

Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland, IDS (Tunisia), Infotech Design System (Mauritius), IDS Infotech (Mohali) and Aeromatrix (Chandigarh) have also been named in the case.

According to the CBI sources, Mr. Michel was allegedly paid huge sums by the supplier company for the job and part of the money is suspected to have made its way to India. The CBI also came across documents indicating that 24 million euros was paid separately to Mr. Haschke and Mr. Gerosa.

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