M A I N   N E W S

CBI probe in copter deal names ex-IAF chief Tyagi 
His three cousins, seven others also under scanner
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 25
In possession of documents from Italy, the CBI today named former Air Force Chief SP Tyagi in its Preliminary Enquiry into allegations of kickbacks in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter deal.

Besides the former IAF chief, 10 others including his cousins — Julie, Docsa and Sandeep Tyagi — have also been named along with four companies in the Preliminary Enquiry, CBI sources said here.

Suspected European middlemen Carlo Gerosa, Christian Michel and Guido Haschkhe, advocate Gautam Khaitan —formerly associated with Aeromatrix — and its CEO Praveen Bakshi, former Finmeccanica chairman Giuseppe Orsi and former AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini have also been named.

“A PE is not registered without documents or without any basis”, said officials while adding that the firms named in the case are Finmeccanica, its subsidiary AgustaWestland, IDS Infotech Ltd. (India) and Aeromatrix India.

The PE, sources said, was ordered a day after the CBI team returned from Italy. The investigating agency has enough evidence to register the report. A senior officer of the CBI is still in the Italy to collect some other documents that may help in investigating the case and conducting raids.

In Italy, the CBI team met top officials of Italian aerospace major Finmeccanica to know the details of kickbacks and other relevant details that have been submitted by the Italian investigating agency in court after the arrest of the Finmeccanica’s CEO. The CBI team got assistance from the Italian lawyers that had been hired by the Indian Embassy there. The lawyers did the liaison job with the authorities concerned there in probing the role of Indians in connection with the alleged kickbacks in the Rs 3,500 crore VVIP helicopter deal. The lawyers represented India's case with the Italian government and the local courts for getting evidence in the case.

Kickbacks to the tune of Rs 350 crore were allegedly paid to swing the deal in favour of AgustaWestland, the sources said.

The CBI's decision to send a team to Italy came after it was discovered that not even a shred of evidence was found in India.

The CBI was handed over a letter from the Defence Ministry seeking a probe in the case. Attached with the letter were some Indian and Italian press clippings, which, the CBI said, could not form the basis for registering a case, the sources said.

Enough evidence

  The CBI registered the Preliminary Enquiry to probe allegations that some “middlemen influenced the deal in favour” of Italian company AgustaWestland for the supply of 12 VVIP copters

  Its team that returned from Italy with some documents from Finmeccanica and the public prosecutor found enough material to start its probe in the alleged payoffs of `350 crore

  A senior CBI officer is still in Italy to collect papers that may help in the case and in conducting raids

Dubious distinction

  SP Tyagi (in pic) is the second former Services chief to figure in a CBI inquiry

  Naval ex-Chief Admiral Sushil Kumar was named in a CBI case of 2005-06 to probe “kickbacks” in purchase of Barak missiles 





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