Tyagi quizzed

NEW DELHI : Retired Indian Air Force chief S P Tyagi was grilled here on Wednesday by the CBI for allegedly accepting kickbacks through his cousins in the deal with Agusta Westland for purchase of 12 VVIP helicopters worth Rs 3600 crores.

Tyagi quizzed

The former air chief had allegedly tweaking specifications of the chopper to facilitate the deal with Agusta Westland, a UK subsidiary of the Italian conglomerate Finmeccanica, whose CEO is facing trial in Italy for corruption.

SP Tyagi’s three cousins — Julie, Rajiv and Dosco — have been also summoned for interrogation as early inquiries of the CBI have shown that they allegedly dealt on behalf of the Air chief Marshal with the middlemen engaged by the Italian conglomerate to secure the Indian contract in 2010.

While the former air chief has denied any wrongdoing and pleaded that the contract was signed by the IAF in 2010, three years after his retirement, the CBI sources said the agency has enough evidence to show that his cousins had entered into a criminal conspiracy with the company’s agents. It is alleged that the understanding was that the bribe would be paid only if the order materializes in favour of the company.

The CBI has already registered a Preliminary Enquiry based on the documents gathered from Italy and it is in the process of registering the FIR, possibly before weekend, on the basis of the interrogation it has carried out thus far. The arrests will follow.

The Italian inquiry has identified his three cousins as conduits, who were paid bribes at home and abroad. These details came out in the case that was filed in Milan after the arrest of the CEO of Finmeccanica, of which Agusta is a subsidiary. An alleged middleman for Finmeccanica, Guido Haschke, is claimed to have admitted that 100,000 euros or Rs 720 lakhs were paid in cash to the former air chief’s cousins, and the CBI is making out a case that some of these funds were transferred later to the air chief.

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