VVIP chopper deal: CBI questions Guido Haschke

VVIP chopper deal: CBI questions Guido Haschke

A team of CBI officials today questioned European middleman Guido Haschke inside an Italian court in Milan in connection with allegations of bribe to clinch Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal in favour of AgustaWestland.

Official sources said that Haschke was quizzed inside the court premises by a CBI team led by a Superintendent of Police level officer and asked questions about the role of Indian people including Tyagi brothers.

The helicopter supply contract is under probe by Italian agencies and CBI for alleged kickbacks paid to Indian officials -- including former IAF chief SP Tyagi -- to clinch the deal. Tyagi has denied allegations of any kickbacks.

Haschke is one of the 13 accused named in the FIR filed by CBI.

It was not immediately clear about the replies given by Haschke but media reports from Milan said that the middleman has denied bribe charge.

According to Italian TV channel Milano Finza, Haschke told the investigators that the money in India was exclusively meant for engineering works and for administrative works.

He denied that any money had been paid to the former IAF chief, the TV, which also runs a news portal, claimed.

Taking a tough stand, India had on January one scrapped the helicopter deal, nearly a year after allegations surfaced that kickbacks to the tune of Rs 360 crore were paid to bag the contract.

Haschke, who was arrested in Switzerland in September from where he has been brought to Italy, is facing trial for alleged corrupt activities along with top executives of AgustaWestland and Finmeccanica.

The Milan court had allowed Indian authorities to examine Haschke in the bribery case.
It was for the first time that CBI officials were part of Haschke's examination which has been done by the Defence Ministry officials through their lawyers in the court, the sources said.

"Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa (both middlemen) managed to send 5.6 million euros through Mohali-based IDS Infotech and Chandigarh-based Aeromatrix Info Solutions Private Ltd to India and kept the remaining amount of about 24.30 million euros received from AgustaWestland with themselves in the account of IDS Tunisia," the CBI FIR in the case states.

The Italian prosecutor, who carried out the preliminary inquiry in Milan, has alleged that the CEO of Finmeccanica, the parent company of the UK-based AgustaWestland, had used services of middlemen to bribe Indian officials

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