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Authenticity of VVIP chopper deal notes `not proved`: Antony

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 - 17:25

New Delhi: Defence Minister AK Antony on Wednesday said certain notes have come to light suggesting that middlemen in the VVIP chopper deal were trying to target certain Indian leaders but their authenticity is "not proved".

He was making a suo motu statement in Rajya Sabha on the AgustaWestland chopper scam after a note received from Italy suggested that one of the middlemen Christian Michel had written to an AgustaWestland official in India to ask a `High Commissioner` to target UPA chairman Sonia Gandhi and her close advisers Ahmed Patel, Pranab Mukherjee, Veerappa Moily.

"There is another unsigned document purported to be written by Mr Christian to the attention of one Mr Peter Hullet for High Commissioner to target certain Indian leaders. The authenticity of these documents is not proved. The case is presently in Italian court," Antony said.
On the hearings in an Italian court, he said one unsigned handwritten paper has been produced which has headings "AF, BUR, POL (under which AP is recorded), FAM etc and Guido Hashcke, from whom this document has been recovered, has been cross-examined on this."

The Defence Minister said transcript of this cross- examination of Haschke was received by his ministry.

"Haschke, in response to a specific question by the Italian public prosecutor as to the meaning of FAM, he replied that FAM is family. In reply to another question, he stated "... Due to the family, that is to the Tyagi brothers."

Antony said when Haschke was asked about AP, he said, "I don`t know what it means."
He said based on documents and other relevant evidences available with the government, the contract for the supply of 12 VVIP choppers was cancelled on January 1 on grounds of breach of provisions of Pre-Integrity Pact.
"Encashment of various bank guarantees is under process.
The Government is also pursuing actions in various legal fora to protect its rights," the Defence Minister said.

Antony said after the arrest senior officials of Finmeccanica in Italy, the CBI registered a preliminary inquiry on February 2013 which has now been converted into a regular case "against former Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi and 18 other persons and companies. CBI has issued Letters

Rogatory for witnesses and evidence."
The Minister said representatives of Defence Ministry, CBI and the Ministry of External Affairs have been attending hearings in Italy`s Court of Busto Arsizio in Milan in the case going on there.

First Published: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 - 17:25
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