VVIP chopper deal: CBI names ex-IAF chief SP Tyagi, 10 others in preliminary enquiry

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday named former Air Force Chief SP Tyagi in a preliminary enquiry (PE) on allegations of kickbacks in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal.

Updated: Feb 26, 2013, 00:44 AM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday named former Air Force Chief SP Tyagi in a preliminary enquiry (PE) on allegations of kickbacks in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal.

Apart from the ex-Air Force chief, his cousin Sanjeev Tyagi, ten other persons and four companies have also been named in the CBI’s PE.

This is the second instance when a former services chief has been named in a CBI inquiry. Former Admiral Sushil Kumar was named in a CBI case to probe alleged kickback in purchase of Barak missiles in early 2000.

The sources said suspected European middlemen Carlo Garosa, Christian Michel and Guido Haschkhe, advocate Gautam Khaitan formerly associated with Aeromatrix and its CEO Praveen Bakshi, former Finmeccanica Chairman Giuseppe Orsi, former AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini have also been named.

Italian companies Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland, IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix also figure in the PE, they said.

However, Sanjeev Tyagi had earlier rubbished charges of having received kickbacks in the VVIP chopper deal, saying it was an ‘absolute lie’ even as he admitted having met one of the middlemen 17 years back regarding a power sector deal.

In a report filed by Italian investigators on the AgustaWestland defence chopper deal in Italy, the three Tyagi brothers - Julie, Docsa and Sanjeev - are alleged to have received kickbacks from middlemen.

In its PE, registered to probe kickbacks in the 12 AW-101
VVIP/VIP helicopters from AgustaWestland deal, CBI will investigate allegations that some "middlemen have influenced the deal in favour" of the Italian company.

It is also learnt that Italian company Finmeccanica paid a commission of seven million Euros (about Rs 50 crore) to the middlemen out of which huge sums were transferred to seven Indian nationals through Tunisia and Mauritius, the PE said.

The money was sent in the garb of of engineering contracts with two Indian companies -- IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix, it said.

The team of CBI officials which returned from Italy with some documents from Finmeccanica and public prosecutor found enough material in them to start its probe in Rs 362 crore alleged payoffs in the helicopter deal, they said.

All the suspects named by the CBI in its Preliminary Enquiry have denied allegations of kickbacks in the deal.

The sources said that they are likely to be called for questioning in connection with the case.

The CBI registered the PE on the basis of documents which the agency managed to procure from Italy yesterday.

Highly-placed sources in the agency said one of the members of the CBI team who returned from Milan on Sunday had got some documents from Italian prosecutors on the controversial Rs 3,600 crore deal.

The Italian agencies on February 15 arrested Orsi, former Chairman of the Finmeccanica, parent company of AgustaWestland, on charges of paying the bribe for the contract.

The investigation report by Italian prosecutor had claimed that Hashcke and Gerosa, through the Tyagi brothers, who in turn through their cousin SP Tyagi, managed first to change the tender details, in a way to favour, modifying the `operational ceiling` from 18,000 to 15,000 feet of altitude, thus allowing AgustaWestland spa (which otherwise could not have even submitted an offer) to take part in the tender.

The report also claimed that the duo managed to introduce a comparative flight trial with non-functional engine, thus facilitating AgustaWestland helicopters, the only ones which had three engines, swinging the deal in its favour.

It alleged payments were made to Hashcke and Gerosa through a consultancy contract between AW spa and Gordian Services Sarl and an amount of 400,000 Euros (about Rs 2.8 crore). Out of this amount 100,000 Euros (Rs 72 lakh) were paid in cash to the Tyagi brothers (Julie, Docsa and Sandeep).

With PTI inputs