A hand-written “budget sheet” by AgustaWestland deal middleman Guido Haschke, mentioning payments allegedly made to politicians, bureaucrats and defence officials, is being taken seriously by the CBI. Agency sources said investigators are verifying identities of persons mentioned in abbreviated form in the note and all these people will be questioned in due course.
The Haschke note, submitted in an Italian court that convicted top officials of the company for alleged involvement in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal, mentions codes such as “AP”, “Fam”, “DS”, “JS AIR”, “AFA”, “DG Acquisition” and CVC” with amounts in Euros written against them.
The Italian court has also speculated on whether the codes stand for Ahmed Patel, family and various designations in the IAF and Defence Ministry. Patel has denied any wrongdoing and family, it has been said, stands for former IAF chief S P Tyagi’s family.
“The note is of significance. It has been produced in a court as evidence so we have to take its cognizance. But we first need to establish the identities of these people along with the trail of money mentioned against their name. They will then be questioned,” a senior CBI officer said.
The agency has also moved Delhi High Court against the bail granted to Tyagi who was arrested last month. While granting bail, the court of special CBI judge Arvind Kumar had pulled up CBI for having “failed to state how much cash was paid to the accused and when it was paid” despite conducting an investigation for “3 years and 9 months”.
CBI officers, however, argue that evidence against Tyagi had been presented before the court even if not stated orally. “We have established that he was paid while he was in office and later he bought four properties in Gurgaon with that money running into crores. All payments were made in cash,” said the officer.
The officer added that there was evidence of Tyagis meeting middlemen in the deal even though middlemen are prohibited in Indian defence deals. “Tyagi was arrested only after we were satisfied with the evidence with us. His custody was necessary to confront him with certain facts and evidence. The lower court while rejecting bail has not made any remark on the merits of the case,” the officer said.
Tyagi did not respond to repeated phone calls and messages.
The 71-year-old was arrested along with his brother Sanjeev and Delhi lawyer Gautam Khaitan on December 9 by CBI. Tyagi is accused of receiving bribes with his brothers to lower the service ceiling of required VVIP choppers that helped AgustaWestland qualify for the deal.