February 26, 2013 2:58:15 am
The CBI Monday registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) to probe the alleged graft in the Rs 3,546 crore VVIP chopper deal,naming four private companies and 11 people,including former Air Chief S P Tyagi.
The agency is also finalising a lookout circular to prevent the suspects from fleeing the country. Such a circular sends details of a suspect to all border crossings,including airports and ports.
Besides Tyagi,the PE names his three cousins,the CEO of the Italian conglomerate Finmeccanica,Giuseppe Orsi,middlemen Guido Haschke and Christian Michel and four firms including AgustaWestland,the Anglo-Italian subsidiary of Finmeccanica.
The case was filed after the three-member team of CBI and defence ministry officials returned from Italy on Sunday night with sufficient evidence to probe the allegations of bribery in the procurement of 12 VVIP helicopters.
The alleged nexus between middlemen,Indian agents and representatives of private firms which helped AgustaWestland win the deal was exposed by a series of reports in The Indian Express.
The defence ministry acted after these reports and ordered a CBI probe earlier this month. The ministrys norms prohibit companies from appointing middlemen or agents to secure defence contracts.
It is alleged that in the procurement process of the choppers,some middlemen have influenced the deal in favour of UK based company AgustaWestland, the CBIs PE said. It also said,based on documents procured from Italian authorities,that Finmeccanica paid commissions worth several millions of euros to middlemen.
It is also alleged that the middlemen – Guido Haschke,Carlo Gerosa and Christian Michel – from their share of the commissions,paid huge sums of money through Tunisia and Mauritius to Indian nationals in the garb of engineering contracts with two India-based companies,IDS Infotech Ltd and Aeromatrix India. Both companies have also been named by the CBI.
The Indian contacts were identified as S P Tyagi and his Delhi-based businessmen cousins Julie Tyagi,Docsa Tyagi and Sandeep tyagi. Others named in the PE are Gautam Khaitan,a Delhi-based lawyer and co-owner of Chandigarh-based Aeromatrix and Praveen Bakshi,COO of Aeromatrix.
An Italian probe report had said that the two Swiss-based middlemen,Haschke and Gerosa,were directors in Aeromatrix,which deals in engineering software.
The Indian team that had gone to Italy included a defence ministry joint secretary. It met prosecutors in the corruption row and Finmeccanica officials.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.