CBI files chargesheet in Rs 3,726 cr AgustaWestland case

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New Delhi, Sep 1 (IANS) The CBI on Friday filed a chargesheet in Rs 3,726 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case against former Indian Air Force chief S.P. Tyagi and eight others.

The agency submitted the 30,000-page chargesheet before special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) judge Arvind Kumar.

Tyagi’s cousin Sanjeev alias Julie, then IAF Vice Chief J.S. Gujral and advocate Gautam Khaitan are among four Indians named in the chargesheet which mentioned Khaitan as the “brain” behind the deal.

Others named are Italian defence and aerospace major Finmeccanica’s former chief Giuseppe Orsi, former AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini and three European middleman Christian Michel, Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.

Orsi and Spagnolini have already been sentenced by an Italian court for bribing Indian officials to get the contract from India illegally.

“How the bribe money reached India, how several firms, through which the money travelled, came into existence and that Sanjeev was known to alleged European middleman Carlo Gerosa is mentioned in the chargesheet,” an official said.

Tyagi, who was Indian Air Force chief from 2004 to 2007, his brother Sanjeev and Khaitan were allegedly involved in irregularities in the procurement of 12 AW-101 VVIP helicopters from Britain-based AgustaWestland. They were arrested in December last year by the agency in connection with the case.

The CBI, which registered an FIR in the case on March 12, 2013, has alleged that Tyagi and the other accused received kickbacks from AgustaWestland to help the manufacturer win the contract. The FIR mentioned charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The CBI said the company was favoured in lieu of illegal gratification accepted through different companies in the name of consultancy services.

Tyagi, the CBI has alleged, took bribes of several crores, through middlemen and a complex route of companies in several countries, from AgustaWestland to change the specifications of the contract – reducing the operational flight ceiling from 6,000 metres, as originally proposed, to 4,500 metres and bringing down the cabin height to 1.8 metres.

The twin modifications were allegedly meant to rig the deal in favour of AgustaWestland, which eventually walked away with the order to supply 12 choppers for the Communication Squadron of the Indian Air Force for ferrying the President, the Prime Minister and other VVIPs.

Sources said that they mapped the trail of bribes which AgustaWestland paid to bag the deal of Rs 452 crore or 12 per cent of the total value of the deal, out of which Rs 414 crore came to Indian officials.

The CBI probe revealed that several payments were made to the Tyagi brothers by European middlemen Haschke, Gerosa and Michel as part of the alleged bribery.

–IANS

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