The Central Bureau of Investigation, in response to a query from the Union Law Ministry on the ongoing probe into AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal, has reiterated that the agency would examine Governors M.K. Narayanan and B.V. Wanchoo as witnesses.

The Law Ministry had earlier denied permission to the CBI on the grounds that West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan and Goa Governor B.V. Wanchoo enjoyed Constitutional immunity. The agency then wrote to the President Secretariat seeking opinion, citing that the Secretariat would be in the know of the set procedures.

The CBI again received a query from the Law Ministry as regards its motive behind the questioning of the two Governors. Accordingly, the CBI has clarified that it only needs their statements as witnesses.

Mr. Narayanan, as the then National Security Advisor and Mr. Wanchoo, as the Special Protection Group chief, had allegedly attended a meeting in 2005 in which the tender specifications for procurement of VVIP helicopters were “tweaked”.

The CBI has alleged that during his tenure, former IAF chief S.P. Tyagi had approved reduction of the service ceiling of VVIP helicopters from 6,000 metres to 4,500 metres, a relaxation that allowed AgustaWestland to qualify for the tender. Alleging that middlemen were hired and bribes paid on the pretext of engineering contracts to swing the deal in the company’s favour, the agency has named the retired Air Chief Marshal, his three cousins and several others in the case.

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