SP Tyagi was paid kickbacks in VVIP chopper deal: CBI

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New Delhi, Feb 25: The Central Bureau of Investigation has named former Air Force chief SP Tyagi in its preliminary enquiry (PE) into the VVIP chopper deal despite his repeated protestations of innocence.

Two cousins of the Air Chief Marshal (retired) namely Julie Tyagi and Dosca Tyagi have also been named in the PE. The CBI has obtained certain documents which prove that some middlemen were paid kickbacks by AgustaWestland and its parent company Finmeccanica so that they could clinch the Rs 3,600 crore deal, sources said.

The agency is pretty sure that apart from Tyagi and his relatives, a few other Indians were involved in the deal. Their names are expected to emerge during the probe. 

SP Tyagi

Last week, CBI sleuths and officials from the defence and external affairs ministries met Italian prosecutors and the judge in the case. The agency sought details of the kickbacks especially those paid to Indians. This information has not been provided so far. However, some details may be shared with the CBI once the local elections in Italy conclude.

Italian investigators averred that Finmeccanica chairman Giuseppe Orsi and AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini were taken into custody only to prevent them from destroying crucial evidence.

The CBI had earlier appealed to the Defence Ministry to provide information about the controversial chopper deal but all it got was news clippings from India and Italy. The agency's appeal for help was also turned down by Interpol since CBI is yet to register a case.

Given the massive corruption behind it, Defence Minister AK Antony reportedly wants to scrap the deal under which AgustaWestland was supposed to supply twelve AW-101 helicopters in all to India. These were to be incorporated into the Air Force's elite Communications Squadron that ferries VVIPs like the President and the Prime Minister.

Three of the choppers have been supplied till date and Rs 1,200 crore has already been paid for the same.

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