VVIP chopper deal scam: Read FIR lodged against former Air Chief SP Tyagi in AgustaWestland Rs 3,600-crore deal

By: | Updated: December 11, 2016 3:03 PM

The FIR lodgd against former Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi reveals cases of 'criminal conspiracy and abuse of official position'.

Augusta Westland scam: All the accused will be produced today post lunch before Patiala House Court in New Delhi. (PTI)Augusta Westland scam: All the accused will be produced today post lunch before Patiala House Court in New Delhi. (PTI)

The FIR lodgd against former Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi reveals cases of ‘criminal conspiracy and abuse of official position’. Tyagi, his cousin and an advocate, were arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday in connection with an ongoing investigation to a case related to the alleged irregularities in the procurement of VVIPs helicopters. All the accused will be produced today post lunch before Patiala House Court in New Delhi.

In a copy of the FIR, it is mentioned that Tyagi, the then Chief of Air Staff were “offering illegal gratificaton on the part of the concerned firms, and corresponding acceptance by the concerned persons or middlemenfor exercising influence through corrupt or/and illegal means, or using personal inluence, over the concerned public servants.”

The role of the UPA government and former IAF chief Tyagi in the scam is reportedly validated by an Italian court in the purchase of 12 AgustaWestland AW101 helicopters for IAF for Rs 3,600-crores for VVIPs, including the President and the Prime Minister.

On April 8, the Milan Court of Appeals ruled that the Rs 3,565 crore AW contract involved payoffs to Indian officials. Overturning a lower court judgement that said corruption could not be proved, the court of appeals found Giuseppe Orsi, the powerful former chief of Finmeccanica, and Bruno Spagnolini — who headed chopper division AW— guilty of international corruption and money laundering.

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As per reports, prosecutors in the court produced a note purportedly written by Christian Michel to Peter Hullet, India head of the Anglo-Italian company, in 2008 revealing that he had advised the people handling the VVIP helicopter deal on the company’s behalf to target people close to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, including the prime minister and some of her closest advisers, to win the contract.

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha on May 6, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said the UPA regime left no stone unturned to award the VVIP chopper deal to AgustaWestland.

Parrikar said the previous regime’s action against the deal was forced by circumstances and the inquiry into it was not initiated until it was unavoidable.

The Defence Minister said Tyagi and lawyer Gautam Khaitan, who are being repeatedly questioned by the CBI in the case, are small people and asked the government to find the big names who received the kickbacks in the deal.

Parrikar further said that procurement procedure was not followed in the deal, adding there were also discrepancies in the base price.

The Defence Minister further said UPA regime knew about the scam in February 2012, but still three helicopters were delivered in December. He added that the CBI registered an FIR in the matter in March 2013, but the copy of FIR was not forwarded to the Enforcement Directorate till December.

Parrikar told the Upper House that the Enforcement Directorate took notice of the case only in July 2014 after the BJP-led NDA came into power.

(with inputs from agencies)

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