VVIP chopper scam: CBI questions Goa Governor Wanchoo

A team of Central Bureau of Investigation officials on Friday questioned Goa Governor B. V. Wanchoo as a witness in the >AgustaWestland chopper deal scam. Mr. Wanchoo said he was pleased to give his statement.

Mr. Wanchoo is the second Governor to be quizzed by the CBI in this case after >West Bengal Governor M. K. Narayanan who resigned recently after the CBI action.

Mr. Wanchoo was the chief of the Special Protection Group when the deal was signed.

The CBI team quizzed Mr. Wanchoo in Panaji and recorded his statement for its probe into allegations of bribery in the Rs. 3,600-crore deal.

Sources said the need to record statements of Mr. Wanchoo and Mr. Narayanan was felt as both had participated in the meeting in 2005 that allowed key changes in the technical specifications of the chopper.

The CBI had registered a case against former IAF Chief S.P. Tyagi along with 13 others including his cousins and European middlemen in the case.

The allegation against the former Air Chief was that he had reduced flying ceiling of the helicopter so that AgustaWestland was included in the bids. Mr. Tyagi has refuted the allegation against him.

Wanchoo 'happy' to meet CBI

Governor B. V. Wanchoo said he was pleased to give his statement as a witness to the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) on Friday, and hopes that his statement would have clarified any issues that the CBI may have had and that the sleuths would conclude their investigation to bring out the truth at the very earliest.

This was stated in an official press release issued by Goa Department of Information and Publicity here on Friday evening after the CBI team recorded the statement of the Goa Governor at Raj Bhavan.

Stating that a team of the CBI recorded the statement of Mr. Wanchoo as a witness in VVIP Helicopter case under Section 161 Cr.P.C. on Friday, the press release said that the Governor, after he became aware through the media several months back that the CBI was desirous of recording his statement as a witness, was very keen that the same be recorded at the very earliest for the purpose of completing the legal process in the above case.

The Governor was, therefore, happy when a formal request from the CBI was received on June 24, where after the CBI was intimated that they could record the Governor’s statement in Goa, said the press release.

(With PTI inputs)

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 24, 2020 12:01:44 PM |

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