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AgustaWestland chopper deal: CBI to ask for middleman ‘budget sheet’ naming FAM,AP

CBI had registered a bribery case last year naming former IAF chief SP Tyagi and his cousins.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
January 4, 2014 4:13:30 am

Days after the Defence Ministry cancelled the Rs 3,546 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal,the CBI said they will approach the government to obtain the documents recovered from Swiss businessman Guido Haschke detailing the budget which purportedly lists initials of Indian politicians and designations of bureaucrats and IAF officers. The CBI had registered a bribery case last year naming former IAF chief SP Tyagi and his cousins.

CBI director Ranjit Sinha said,“We will definitely get the documents to investigate the links further.” The agency in its letter rogatories (LRs) has also asked the Italian authorities to provide access to Haschke for questioning. The damaging document prepared by Haschke will help the agency to take the probe further beyond Tyagi and alleged middlemen. Sources also said a CBI team,which met Italian prosecutors recently,has asked them to identify the Indian bureaucrats and politicians.

As first reported by The Indian Express,the note 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. It is also alleged that bribes worth 51 million euros were allegedly paid by the company to bag the contract.

The probe into the VVIP chopper scam has been on the back-burner as the agency claimed that replies of LRs are still awaited. “We are also awaiting for the trail in Italian court to get over as it will help us to unearth the scam beyond Tyagis’,” said a CBI official.

The document cited during the trial in Italy court also 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”.

Meanwhile,AgustaWestland has confirmed that it has received a notification concerning the appointment of an arbitrator from the Defence Ministry as well as a termination notice for the contract. However,the company said it “finds that neither the termination notice by the Ministry of Defence nor the show cause notice,from which this termination notice stems,offers adequate basis to take any action against the Company”.

The company says that the termination notice “will have to be discussed within the framework of a fair arbitration process” and it would soon propose the names of persons for selecting of a third arbitrator as per the agreement.

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