AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal: Manmohan Singh, former PMO officials to be questioned by CBI?

Former Air Force chief SP Tyagi and two others, arrested in the Rs 450 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal bribery case, were sent to four days' CBI custody on Saturday.

AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal: Manmohan Singh, former PMO officials to be questioned by CBI?
File photo

New Delhi: The CBI may question former prime minister Manmohan Singh with regard to the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case.

CNN-News 18 quoted sources as saying on Sunday that former officials in the PMO are also likely to be questioned.

At the same time, as per the media house, the agency is likely to question former PM’s then principal secretary TKA Nair and former national security adviser MK Narayanan, as per sources.

Moreover, they may also question CBI's former director Ranjit Sinha and former special director Salim Ali.

Yesterday, former Air Force chief SP Tyagi and two others, arrested in the Rs 450 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal bribery case, were sent to four days' CBI custody after the agency said their interrogation was essential to unearth a "very large conspiracy having international ramifications".

Besides Tyagi, the court remanded his cousin Sanjeev Tyagi alias Julie and advocate Gautam Khaitan, also arrested in the case related to procurement of 12 VVIP choppers from UK-based firm during the UPA-2 regime.

While the CBI sought 10 days' custody of these accused for quizzing them, the counsel appearing for the former IAF chief had claimed in the court that decision to procure VVIP choppers from AgustaWestland was a "collective" one and Prime Minister Office (PMO) was also a part of it.

"It was a collective decision and not his (Tyagi's) individual one. It was a collective decision of which PMO was also a part," senior counsel N Hariharan, appearing for Tyagi, had told the court, adding, "The file moved through several levels but I am the only one who has been arrayed as accused," as per PTI.

CBI had alleged that Tyagi had "abused his official position" and when he was the Air Chief Marshal, he had made huge investments in land and other properties and have not disclosed the source his income.

At this stage, Tyagi, who was present in the courtroom, had told the magistrate, "I can give account of all my land investments if they (CBI) want."

Tyagi's counsel had refuted the CBI's claim and had said that, "As per CBI allegations, conspiracy and the money transaction was going on since much before I came into picture."

The counsel appearing for the other two arrested accused had also opposed the CBI's remand plea saying the FIR was lodged over three years ago and there were no fresh grounds to arrest them at this stage.

CBI, however, had alleged that Khaitan was the "brain" behind how the bribe money reached India and several firms through which the money travelled came into existence and Sanjeev was known to alleged European middleman Carlo Gerosa.

After hearing the arguments, the magistrate had remanded the three accused to CBI's custody till December 14 saying, "considering the seriousness of allegations and gravity of the matter, I am of the considered opinion that CBI custody of the accused is required for a fair probe".

71-year old Tyagi, who had retired in 2007, his cousin Sanjeev and Khaitan were on December 09 arrested by the agency in connection with the case.  

(With Agency inputs)

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