CBI questions former IAF deputy chief in VVIP chopper scam

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New Delhi, April 30 (IANS) The CBI on Saturday questioned former IAF deputy chief, Air Marshal J.S. Gujral (retd.) in connection with the VVIP AgustaWestland helicopter deal, sources said.

Central Bureau of Investigation sources told IANS that Gujral, who has earlier been examined as a witness in the case, has been cooperating with the agency sleuths during questioning.

They said that Gujral, who had retired as deputy chief of air staff, where he was in charge of procurements among others, would be called again for questioning and won’t be arrested.

Gujral had on Saturday arrived at the CBI headquarters at 10.30 a.m. and appeared before the investigation team probing the case.

Sources also said that former Indian Air Force chief, Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi (retd.) had also been asked by CBI to appear at its headquarters in Delhi for questioning on Monday. Apart from Tyagi, his three cousins had also been summoned by the agency for questioning.

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Sources also revealed that all the Indians named in the case had been summoned by the investigating agency for questioning in the coming days.

The CBI had named 13 individuals in the FIR which it registered on March 13, 2013, including Tyagi and European middlemen Carlo Gerosa, Christian Michel and Guido Haschke, in connection with the alleged bribery.

It managed to get the complete tranche of records, received from Italy, translated into English.

Sources also said that the records were being analysed by sleuths who would decide on the charges to be pressed against the accused named in the FIR, including former IAF chief, Tyagi, and his three cousins.

Italian agencies had arrested the then CEO of AgustaWestland, Giuseppe Orsi, for alleged bribes given to Indian middlemen to clinch the deal.

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The supply of 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland had come under scanner after Italian authorities alleged that bribes were paid by the company to clinch the Rs.3,600 crore deal. It was subsequently cancelled.

The Italian prosecutor who carried out the preliminary inquiry alleged that the CEO of Finmeccanica, the parent company of the Britain-based AgustaWestland, had used services of middlemen to bribe Indian officials.

The probe agency has alleged that during his tenure as IAF chief, Tyagi and, “with his approval”, the IAF “conceded to reduce the service ceiling for VVIP helicopters.



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