The defence lawyers in the VVIP chopper deal case, which is being heard in an Italian court, have said a former top official of AgustaWestland, who claimed in court on Tuesday that the then Air Chief S P Tyagi had been hosted by the company in Milan in 2007, is mistaken and that he confused Tyagi with his successor F H Major, who came on an official tour to Italy in 2008.
The defence team of Giuseppe Orsi, the former CEO of AgustaWestland who is on trial for facilitating kickbacks worth 51 million euros to swing the bribe, has debunked the argument of the prosecution that Tyagi had been hosted by the company when he was serving as Air Chief in 2007.
Arguing that Orsi could not have met Tyagi in 2007 in Milan for international business, as was claimed by the company’s former senior vice-president Giacomo Saponaro in court on Tuesday, the defending team said the Indian officer — who has been named in a CBI FIR in the matter — had not been to Italy.
Insisting that the meeting between Tyagi and Orsi is a figment of imagination, the defence lawyers said Tyagi has never been to Italy and that Saponaro was confusing it with the official visit of his successor, Major, which took place in January, 2008. During the hearing, the prosecution had produced a photograph of Tyagi, and Saponaro had identified him as the man who had been hosted by the company in 2007.
The Indian Express had reported that the former top official told the Italian court that Orsi took Tyagi to a fancy theatre performance and also hosted an expensive dinner for him in early 2007. Saponaro had claimed the expenses for the evening were borne by the Anglo-Italian company.