The Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday recorded the “witness” statement of Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan in the VVIP chopper deal case.
“A CBI team visited Mr. Narasimhan at the Raj Bhavan in Hyderabad to record his statement, as he was part of the March 2005 meeting during which the proposal for scaling down of flight-capability requirement for procurement of the helicopters was discussed,” said a CBI official.
The decision to reduce the flight capability of choppers from 6,000 to 4,500 metres, during the tenure of the then Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi, had allowed AgustaWestland (UK) to bid for the deal.
During the two-hour-long “meeting”, the official said, the CBI team asked from the former Intelligence Bureau director questions similar to those earlier posed to West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan and Goa Governor B.V. Wanchoo, who subsequently put in their papers.
"We need to ascertain why exactly the tender specifications were changed," said the official.
According to the CBI, Mr. Narasimhan had participated in the March 2005 meeting on the chopper deal as the Intelligence Bureau chief, along with the then National Security Advisor Mr. Narayanan (also a former Intelligence Bureau director) and Mr. Wanchoo, who was then the Special Protector Group chief.
Mr. Narasimhan, a 1968-batch IPS officer of the Andhra Pradesh cadre, retired as chief of Intelligence Bureau in December 2006, following which he was appointed as the Chhattisgarh Governor. In December 2009, he was given additional charge of Andhra Pradesh after N.D. Tiwari resigned. About a month later, he was formally appointed as the Andhra Pradesh Governor.