The Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday filed a chargesheet against retired Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi, former Air Marshal J.S. Gujral and 10 others in the ₹3,700 crore AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter case.
Running into 30,000 pages, the chargesheet, filed before a special court, also named as accused Air Chief Marshal Tyagi’s cousin Sanjeev Tyagi, lawyer Gautam Khaitan, alleged middlemen Christian Michel, Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke, former AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini and former Finmeccanica chairman Giuseppe Orsi.
Italian company Finmeccanica, its subsidiary AgustaWestland and IDS Tunisia have also been named in the charge sheet.
The charge sheet alleges that the VVIP helicopter deal caused a loss of 398.21 million euros (about ₹2,666 crore) to the exchequer.
The agency has invoked Sections 420 (cheating) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, read with various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, against the accused.
The agency alleged that the accused persons conspired to swing the contract in AgustaWestland’s favour in lieu of bribes. It charged that Mr. Tyagi not only lowered the service ceiling requirement of the helicopter from 6,000 to 4,500 metres but also revised the operational requirements.
The contract for supply of 12 AW-101 helicopters was signed in February 2010. However, the Indian government cancelled it in January 2014 following bribery allegations.
The CBI said bribe money of 62 million euros (about ₹450 crore) was routed through a web of companies abroad and in India on the pretext of engineering or consultancy contracts. The agency has been able to establish the money trail in the British Virgin Islands, the United Kingdom, Mauritius, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and Tunisia.
The CBI has submitted in the court that investigations in the case are under way, indicating that more charge sheets may be filed later.