CBI records Wanchoo’s statement in VVIP chopper deal case

The Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday recorded "witness" statement of Goa Governor B.V. Wanchoo in the 3,700-crore VVIP chopper deal case.

“Mr. Wanchoo’s statement is being recorded by a team in Goa,” said a senior CBI official. The Goa Governor, in the capacity of Special Protection Group chief, was part of a crucial meeting in 2005 during which tender specifications for procurement of the helicopters were allegedly changed, which ultimately allowed AgustaWestland to clinch the deal.

A few days ago, the CBI had recorded the witness statement of former National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan for the same reason, after which he resigned as the West Bengal Governor. There are indications that Mr. Wanchoo would follow suit.

In the ongoing trial against former top functionaries of AgustaWestland and its parent company Finmecannica in an Italy court on the same issue, prosecutors have sought six-year imprisonment for former Finmeccanica chief executive officer Giuseppe Orsi and five years of jail term for former AgustaWestland chief Bruno Spagnolini.

According to the CBI, AgustaWestland had illegally hired middlemen and paid bribes in the form of engineering contracts through two India-based companies, to bag the deal for supply of 12 AW101 helicopters.

It is alleged that as part of the conspiracy, during the tenure of former Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi, a relaxation in the service ceiling of helicopters from 6,000 to 4,500 metres was granted, opening doors for AgustaWestland to big for the contract.

Based on the findings, the agency in March last year registered a case under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code against the retired Indian Air Force chief, his three cousins and suspected middlemen, besides the companies purportedly involved.

Some of the high- profiled ministers along with other higher officials were in the list of people who accepted bribe from AgustaWestLand in order to win the $36 billion Indian contract for the supply of VVIP helicopters.

August 1999 – The Indian Air Force (IAF) proposed to replace the Mi-8 helicopters due to operational constraints.

March 2002- The request for proposals was published globally.

March 2003- The principal secretary Brajesh Mishra meets the Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee requesting him to change the rules to include more bidders.

January 2006- The acceptance for the procurement of 12 VVIP choppers which was accorded by Defence Acquisition Council.

April 2008- Indian Air Force suggested a deal with Britain company AgustaWestLand to purchase VVIP helicopters.

January 2010- The Cabinet Committee on Security cleared the proposal of 12 helicopters which were meant to be utilised for the VVIPs. The Committee went through all the parameters, evaluation and negotiations.

Feb 8, 2010- The Ministry of Defence finished the contract for supply of 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers with Britain’s well- known company AgustaWestland.

Feb, 2012- Media reports alleged that there have been some unethical dealings in helicopter dealings. With the result of which, the MOD reaches out the Indian Embassy in Rome for factual report.

2013- The fresh investigation started on chopper deal with AgustaWestland which allegedly involved bribery and corruption.

Feb 12, 2013- First arrest of Giuseppe Orsi, CEO of Finmeccanica was made by the Italian Police which is the parent company of AgusraWestland.

Feb 15, 2013 – MOD took the action of cancelling the contract and putting the payments on hold to the Italian company. A formal show cause notice was issued to AgustaWestLand to cancel the contract and taking other actions according to the contract and integrity pact. CBI took over the investigations.

Feb 25, 2013- A preliminary enquiry (PE) was registered against 11 people, including former IAF chief S.P. Tyagi, and four companies by CBI.

March 13, 2013 - A first information report was filed against Mr. Tyagi and 12 others for allegedly conspiring and cheating in the chopper deal.

March 23, 2013-A.K. Anthony, the defence minister gave out a statement accepting that the corruption charges were proven to be correct.

November 2013- AgustaWestland officials meet MoD officials to present their case. The company nominates Justice B.N. Srikrishna for arbitration. It submits its reply to the final show cause notice before Nov 26 deadline.

Jan 1, 2014 - The Indian government lapses the agreement on grounds of breach of the Pre-contract Integrity Pact (PCIP) and agreement by AgustaWestland. June 2014- So far, the Indian government has recovered around Rs. 2068 crore and have also recovered the entire amount of Rs. 1620 crore that it had paid to AgustaWestLand.. Sept 9, 2014 - The Enforcement Directorate made its first arrest of Gautam Khaitan who is happened to the CEO of the accused company.

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2020 8:56:40 AM |

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