Former IAF chief, two private firm chiefs questioned over Agusta

New Delhi, May 9 (IANS) The CBI on Monday questioned former IAF chief S.P. Tyagi along with the chairman and the chief executive officer (CEO) of two private companies in connection with the alleged payoffs in the Rs.3,600-crore AgustaWestland helicopter deal.

Tyagi was questioned for around four hours at the headquarters of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in Delhi while the chairman of IDS Infotech Ltd (India), Pratap Kumar Aggarwal, and the CEO of Aeromatrix Info Solution Pvt Ltd, Praveen Bakshi, were quizzed for over nine hours.

Aggarwal and Bakshi have been called for questioning again on Tuesday along with a city-based lawyer Gautam Khaitan, who was questioned from Wednesday-Saturday last week, CBI sources said.

The sources said that Tyagi, who was questioned for three consecutive days from Monday last week, was quizzed on Monday to cross check the revelations by his three cousin brothers — Sanjeev, Rajiv and Sandeep — last week. He was also questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday.

On the questioning of Aggarwal and Bakshi, the CBI sources said the two were asked about the nature of services their companies provided to AgustaWestland.

Firms Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland, IDS Infotech Ltd (India) and Aeromatrix India are the accused companies booked by the CBI in the First Information Report (FIR) lodged in March 2013 in connection with the AgustaWestland case.

S.P. Tyagi and 13 others, including his cousins and European middlemen, have also been named in the FIR.

The former IAF chief has been accused in Italy and India of helping AgustaWestland win the chopper contract by reducing the flying ceiling of the helicopter from 6,000 metres to 4,500 metres (15,000 feet).

He, however, has denied the allegations and said the decision was reportedly taken in consultation with officials of the Special Protection Group (SPG) and the Prime Minister’s Office. Twelve helicopters were to be bought by India.

The chopper deal, which was cancelled in January 2013, resurfaced after an Italian court last month purportedly referred to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh, among others, in connection with the chopper deal but gave no details of any wrongdoing by the two leaders.

–IANS

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