CBI FIR names former air chief, cousins

CBI FIR names former air chief, cousins

CBI FIR names former air chief, cousins

Taking a step forward in the VVIP chopper deal probe, the CBI has registered an FIR against 13 people, including former Air chief S P Tyagi and his cousins Sanjeev, Docsa and Julie, besides four companies.

The investigating agency conducted simultaneous searches at 14 locations in Delhi, Gurgaon, Chandigarh and Mohali, including Tyagi’s residence and the offices of Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland, IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix.

This is the first instance of a former Air Force chief being named in a corruption case. It was alleged that at least Rs 360 crore was paid as kickbacks to various persons to fix the deal.

The FIR was understood to have named Italian arms giant Finmeccanica and its British subsidiary AgustaWestland, which signed the 12-copter deal. Three choppers have already been delivered. The other firms which featured in the FIR were Mohali-based IDS Infotech Ltd (India), Chandigarh-based Aeromatrix India, Mauritius-based Infotech Design System and Tunisia-based IDS, sources said.

The FIR also mentions Giuseppe Orsi, former CEO of Finmeccanica, Bruno Spagnolini, former CEO of AgustaWestland and alleged middlemen Guido Ralph Haschke, Karlo Valentino Ferdinando Gerosa and Christian Michel. The FIR was filed under Section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and Section 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code and “some relevant sections” of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Sources said the FIR stated that Tyagi had helped in swinging the VVIP chopper deal in AgustaWestland’s favour by lowering the service height from 6,000 metres to 4,500 metres. It was learnt that the CBI did not say that Tyagi received any money, but maintained that his cousins did.

According to a CBI release, apart from Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland and its senior officials, cases were registered against three foreign nationals “who allegedly acted as middlemen, a Mauritius-based private company, a Tunisia-based firm and other unidentified persons on the allegations of alleged irregularities in the procurement of 12 AW-101 VVIP/VIP helicopters.