VVIP chopper scam: CBI grills ex-IAF chief SP Tyagi

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Sp tyagi 1The Central Bureau of Investigation has questioned former IAF chief SP Tyagi in connection with the alleged corruption in the Rs 3, 600 crore AgustaWesland case on 2nd May. The former IAF chief arrived at the CBI headquarters in Delhi at around 10 am.

According to media reports, Tyagi told the CBI that a series of meeting was held with Agusta officials. It is learnt that Partners Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, the alleged middlemen in the AgustaWestland deal, had built a complex maze of companies to route bribes to India.

Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, according to the report, revealed they have met Tyagi atleast on 6-7 occasions. During this period, AgustaWestland bagged the contract and SP Tyagi got promoted from vice chief to air chief marshall, claim sources.

SP Tyagi was summoned under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act on 29 April. He is accused of having cash from Guido Ralph Haschke and Carlo Gerosa in relation to the AgustaWestland chopper deal. The duo are also accused of being the middlemen in the deal.

13 individuals were named as accused in the CBI’s FIR, which was later used by the ED for filing their separate case under criminal charges of money laundering.

Tyagi is said to have allowed helicopters to be purchased which did not meet the altitude requirement. According to a CBI report, IAF had vehemently opposed the change in altitude requirement, but had conceded once Tyagi was in the picture.

Tyagi is said to have passed on this information via middlemen to help AgustaWestland clinch the deal to supply twelve VVIP choppers to the IAF. CBI began investigating the matter after the deal was scrapped in January 2013.

The investigating agency has alleged that the reduction of the service ceiling — maximum height at which a helicopter can perform normally — allowed the UK-based firm to get into the fray as otherwise its helicopters were not even qualified for submission of bids. The CBI, which has received a copy of the Milan court order, has now prepared a fresh set of questionnaire to put to Tyagi.

Earlier, the former IAF chief had said, “They have blamed me for corrupt practices in which I changed the height to assist AgustaWestland, although this decision was not against the public interest. But I was nevertheless being (called) corrupt.”The Supreme Court is to hear the AgustaWestland plea on 6 May.”