IN A fresh twist to the AgustaWestland controversy, former AAP leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan on Thursday presented documents that they claimed proved the Chhattisgarh government’s complicity in a dubious deal with the company. They also claimed that Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh’s son was perhaps a beneficiary of the deal.
They claimed that documents, uploaded on their organisation Swaraj Abhiyan’s website, prove that the state government acquired an AgustaWestland helicopter in 2007 by paying over 30 per cent commission to a dealer, through a tendering process that led to a single vendor situation just as in the VVIP chopper deal. They alleged that barely six months after all the payments were made, two companies with Raman Singh’s son, Abhishek Singh, as director sprung up in tax haven British Virgin Islands (BVI).
“It was pretended that the (state) government floated a global tender, while it was (specifically) written in the tender which model was to be purchased. And the bids interestingly were received from AugustaWestland, its commission agent and its service provider itself,” alleged Bhushan.
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“The contract invoice shows the cost of the helicopter was only $5.1 million, which was paid to AgustaWestland, and $1.57 million commission was given to commission agent Sharp Ocean based in BVI,” he claimed.
The two said the state government decided to purchase a VIP chopper on December 19, 2006. “Within three days, a representative of OSS Air Management, a service provider of AgustaWestland helicopters, meets the personal secretary to CM… and makes an offer to supply this chopper at $6.31 million,” said Bhushan.
According to Bhushan, on January 5, 2007, AgustaWestland wrote to the state government stating it should buy the chopper from Sharp Ocean, based in Hong Kong but registered in BVI. “We found there were at least 10 firms which could have qualified and sold the chopper at a much cheaper rate,” Bhushan said.
Claiming that the documents “proving” Chhattisgarh government’s culpability were procured under RTI, the duo sought an inquiry by a former judge, to be recommended by the CJI.
Raman Singh called the allegations baseless and politically motivated. “Our entire purchase process was done in a transparent manner and there is no truth to any allegations of corruption,” he said. Demanding Singh’s resignation, the Chhattisgarh Congress called for a CBI probe.