CBI files chargesheet against Tyagi, others in VVIP chopper scam

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 02 Sep 2017 08:14:11


NEW DELHI,

Sept 1,

(Agencies),

THE CBI on Friday filed a chargesheet in Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case against former Indian Air Force Chief S.P. Tyagi and nine others. Tyagi’s cousin Sanjeev alias Julie, advocate Gautam Khaitan, retired Air Marshal J S Gujral, alleged European middlemen Carlo Gerosa, Michel James, Guido Haschke, former Agusta Westland CEO Bruno Spagnolini and former Finme ccanica Chairman Giuseppe Orsi also figure in the chargesheet. Khaitan has been mentioned as the “brain” behind the deal.

The agency submitted the chargesheet before special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) judge Arvind Kumar. 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 and helped the manufacturer win the $530 million contract. The agency has alleged that there was an estimated loss of Euros 398.21 million (approximately Rs 2,666 crore) to the exchequer in the deal that was signed on February 8, 2010 for supply of VVIP choppers worth Euros 556.262 million.

Tyagi, who had retired in 2007, his cousin Sanjeev and Khaitan were arrested on December 9 last year by CBI in the case. These accused are currently on bail. They have been chargesheeted for offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the IPC in the case relating to alleged bribery of Rs 450 crore. CBI had earlier alleged that during his tenure as Air Chief, Tyagi and, with his approval, the Air Force conceded to reduce the service ceiling for VVIP helicopters from 6000 meters to 4500 meters as mandatory to which it was opposing vehemently on the grounds of security constraints and other related reasons.

It has claimed that reduction of service ceiling, or the maximum height at which a helicopter can perform normally, allowed UK-based AgustaWestland to come into the fray as, otherwise, its helicopters were not even qualified for submission of bids. CBI has alleged that AgustaWestland managed to introduce a comparative flight trial with non-functional engine and eventually succeeded in getting the contract for supply of 12 AW-101 VVIP helicopters from the Defence Ministry mainly due to softening of the IAF on service ceiling after S P Tyagi took over as its Chief.

This is the first chargesheet in the case by the CBI which came three years after it registered an FIR in 2013 to probe the allegations in the aftermath of the details of the scam emerging in Italy where the prosecutors levelled allegations of corruption in the deal against the chief of Finmeccanica, the parent company of AgustaWestland. “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.

The CBI, in its chargesheet, has informed the court that it has been able to establish money trail worth Euro 62 million (Rs 415.40 crore) from countries like Mauritius, Singapore, the UAE, Tunisia, the UK and the British Virgin Island. It has alleged that the illegal gratification was brought into India unbder the guise of several consultant contracts European company with group of shell companies created by Khaitan.

The contracts were only “subterfuge” and a mere mode to transfer the illegal gratification for payment the public servants, the CBI claimed in its chargesheet.The court fixed September 6 to peruse the chargesheet in which the Anglo-Italian company, AgustaWestland, is also one of the accused. CBI is likely to file more documents and annexures in the court on the next date of hearing.