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VVIP Choppers deal scam: AgustaWestland seeks and gets more time

Former IAF chief S P Tyagi and firms Aeromatrix and IDS Infotech are being examined in scam.

Written by PTI | New Delhi |
March 14, 2013 9:24:55 pm

Italian firm AgustaWestland has got extension of deadline by seven days from Defence Ministry to explain its links with the software companies that were allegedly used to pay kickbacks in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal.

The Ministry had asked the firm last week to provide details about its transactions with Tunisia and India-based firms IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix.

The Italian firm had sought a week’s extension to explain its linkages with the two firms and the request has been granted by the Defence Ministry. AgustaWestland has been asked to furnish their clear replies within this stipulated time-period,highly-placed sources said.

Both Aeromatrix and IDS Infotech are based in Chandigarh and are being investigated by the CBI along with former air chief S P Tyagi and three of his cousins for allegedly ensuring that AgustaWestland won the Rs. 3,600-crore deal from India.

A show cause notice was issued by the Defence Ministry to AgustaWestland last month as part of the process to cancel the contract for 12 VVIP choppers.

The Ministry had asked the firm why the deal should not be cancelled in view of corruption charges against it.

The firm had replied to the letter denying any wrongdoing in the deal but Defence Minister A K Antony rejected the response of the firm.

The Defence Minister has ordered a CBI probe into the allegations of kickbacks to the tune of Rs 362 crore after the arrest of CEO of Finmeccanica Giuseppe Orsi and AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini by Italian investigators in connection with the case.

Chopper deal: CBI analyses documents,plans questioning

CBI has started analysing documents recovered during its searches yesterday in connection with the its FIR registered in alleged kickbacks in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP helicopter deal.

CBI sources said the agency had recovered documents and hard-disks of computers which are being sent to forensic laboratory for further analysis.

The sources said based on the findings of the analysis agency would chalk out the strategy of examination of the accused in the FIR.

They said the agency plans to start the questioning soon.

The sources said CBI will also resort to sending judicial request to Italy,UK,Mauritius and Tunisia to seek details of suspicious transactions which landed in India as alleged bribe money to influence the 3600 crore deal in favour of UK based AgustaWestland.

The agency had yesterday registered an FIR in the alleged payoffs made to clinch the deal.

Former IAF chief S P Tyagi was booked by the agency,along with 12 others,for alleged cheating,corruption and criminal conspiracy in the Rs 3600 crore VVIP helicopter deal and searches were carried out at 14 locations including his residence.

CBI alleged that during his tenure as Air Chief,Tyagi and “with his approval” the Air Force “conceded to reduce the service ceiling for VVIP helicopters from 6000 meters to 4500 meters as mandatory to which it was opposing vehemently on the grounds of security constraints and other related reasons,” agency sources said.

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