The Central Bureau of Investigation has issued a lookout notice against a former Indian Air Force chief in connection with alleged irregularities in procurement of VVIP helicopters, Defence Minister A K Antony told the Lok Sabha on Monday.
In a written reply to the House, he said, “CBI has issued Lookout notice against a number of individuals in India including a former chief of IAF in connection with the said case.”
Though Antony did not name the IAF chief in his reply, former Air Chief Marshal S P Tyagi’s role in the deal is being inquired by the CBI. Mr. Tyagi’s bank account was recently frozen by the investigative agency and he was also questioned by them.
The Defence Minister also said that it has received an initial set of documents from Italy in connection with the deal.
“Government has received an initial set of documents from Italy pertaining to alleged irregularities in AgustaWestland deal which include the copy of the search and seizure order issued by the Judge of the preliminary investigation in Busto Arsizio, Italy,” Mr. Antony said.
Copies of certain contracts entered by AgustaWestland with various entities in Tunisia and India have also been provided by the Italian government.
The Minister was replying to a question whether the government has received the first set of documents from Italy regarding the alleged irregularities in the AgustaWestland helicopter deal.
In reply to a separate question on court martial of a Commanding Officer and other personnel of an artillery unit, he said, “Based on an Army CoI, disciplinary action has been initiated against four officers including the CO, 17 Junior Commissioned Officers (JCO) and 147 Other Ranks.”
He was asked whether the Army CoI has recommended Court Martial proceedings against 168 personnel including the Commanding Officer of the artillery unit.
Mr. Antony also told the House that the government has taken various steps to improve the working environment in all units and formations at various levels.
Replying to a question whether services of some DRDO scientists, allegedly involved in terror plot, were terminated, he said, “No scientist of the DRDO has been allegedly involved in terror plot.”
However, he said, “Services of Aijaz Ahmed Mirza, who was holding the post of Junior Research Fellow (JRF) in the Centre for Air Borne Systems (CABS) at Bengaluru, got terminated on February 12, 2013 due to prolonged absence from duty from August 30, 2012 and also arrest by police for his alleged involvement in terror plot.”
Mr. Mirza was appointed as JRF on short term basis for a period of two years with effect from January 9, 2012.
“He was not a regular scientist of DRDO and not assigned any sensitive classified job,” Mr. Antony said.
Mr. Mirza was granted bail by a Special Court under the National Investigation Agency (NIA) at Bengaluru on March 5.
“Further investigation is being continued by the investigating agency. Reinstatement of Mirza can be considered after getting confirmation of his innocence from Investigation Agency/Court,” he said.