Govt in the dock over ‘AP’,’FAM’ in middlemen’s ‘budget sheet’

Bribes worth 51 million euros were paid by Anglo-Italian company to bag the contract.

Written by Manu Pubby | New Delhi | Published: December 12, 2013 4:12:50 am

The UPA government has come under fresh pressure in connection with the alleged kickbacks paid in the VVIP chopper deal after Italian prosecutors produced in court a “budget” drawn up by two middlemen which purportedly lists initials of Indian politicians and designations of bureaucrats and IAF officers who allegedly had to be “handled” to fix the deal.

The document is a note Swiss businessman Guido Haschke claimed he wrote during a meeting with British middleman Christian Michel in 2008.

Under the heading “POL” — Haschke has explained in court this referred to Indian politicians — there is a reference to “AP” against which “3 million euro” has been listed.

The other is “FAM” — explained by Italian investigators in other documents as “Family” — against which “15/16 million euro” has been listed. It is not clear if Haschke has explained in court what “AP” and “FAM” refer to.

Bribes worth 51 million euros were allegedly paid by the Anglo-Italian company to bag the Rs 3,546 crore contract.

Three days after The Indian Express first reported such a document had been produced in court in Italy,the opposition BJP Wednesday demanded the government reveal what or who “AP” and “FAM” stand for.

The party said it wants a detailed discussion in Parliament on “alleged payments to persons close to the ruling establishment” in connection with the controversial chopper deal and has accused the government of “running away from discussions”.

“We want a discussion on the alleged payments to persons close to the ruling establishment in connection with the VVIP chopper deal. The government has to answer who this AP and FAM referred to in a ‘budget sheet’ of the alleged middlemen in the AgustaWestland  deal are,” BJP’s deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha,Ravi Shankar Prasad,said.

“We have to raise a whole lot of questions against this government. On corruption,there have been very serious allegations of kickbacks related to the AgustaWestland deal in which there are chances of big names of Congress coming to the forefront,” Prasad said.

Besides politicians,the document also lists five key posts in the defence ministry – “DS”,“JS AIR”,“AFA”,“DG Acquisition” and “another Gen” – and the “CVC” under the head “BUR”,explained in court by Haschke as bureaucrats.

A total of “8.5 million euro” has been “budgeted” for “BUR”. Four abbreviations are mentioned Under the third heading “AF” (Air Force).

A team of lawyers representing India in the trial is expected to question Haschke on the initials when they quiz him in the Italian court Friday.

Sources said the Swiss businessman,who has talked of sharing kickbacks in the deal with the family of former Air Chief S P Tyagi,is expected to put up a strong defence saying the “budget sheet” was just a document drawn up with Michel and never implemented.

Haschke,it is believed,has insisted that the reference FAM (family) is to the Tyagi family – three cousins of the former chief – with which he had business relations in the past and who allegedly were partners in the commission on the deal.

Sources said Haschke is insisting that the 15/16 million euros mentioned in the note also referred to the Tyagis through whom he had received important information about the contract. The defence argument has been that no commissions were paid but “consultancy” work was carried out.

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