AgustaWestland scam: Ex-IAF chief SP Tyagi was codenamed 'gorgeous girl', met middlemen 7 times

The AgustaWestland scam continued to haunt the Congress as CBI sources on Monday told the media that former Air Chief SP Tyagi met AgustaWestland middlemen seven times between 2004 and 2007. Quoting CBI sources, a report in the NDTV said, "Sources say it was in 2004 that a representative of Agusta's Italy-based parent company Finmeccanica first came and met with SP Tyagi, who was then air vice chief."

Tyagi has been named in the FIR in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal along with 13 others, including his cousins, Sanjeev, Rajeev and Sandeep and European middlemen Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa. He will be questioned again on Tuesday.

It was for the second time in three years that the retired Air Chief Marshal was being questioned in connection with the VVIP chopper deal, but it was for the first time he was quizzed after an order of the Italian court on the matter. He was earlier quizzed in 2013.

The former Air Chief Marshal met AgustaWestland middlemen for the first time when he was the then air vice-chief and then again as the chief of Air Force. According to DNA, Finmeccanica met Tyagi in 2004 for the first time and after the announcement that Tyagi would be the next Air Force chief, Agusta middlemen Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa met him a few more times.

Former IAF Chief SP Tyagi. PTI

Former IAF Chief SP Tyagi. PTI

They met him at an air show in Bengaluru in 2005 and in 2006, a meeting with middlemen took place at Tyagi's cousin's office in Delhi who has been named in the FIR. The CBI sources alleged that three more meetings took place and in the meeting held on 7 March, 2005, Tyagi tailored the specifications for the choppers, reported NDTV.

The CBI alleged that Tyagi had reduced flying ceiling of the helicopter from 6,000 metres to 4,500 metres (15,000 feet) so that AgustaWestland was included in the bids. Tyagi has claimed that the decision was taken in consultation with officials of the Special Protection Group (SPG) and the Prime Minister’s Office. He told the CBI that he had travelled to Florence, Milan and Venice in Italy after his retirement in 2007. The CBI is investigating the reason behind these visits.

The Tyagi brothers, who will be summoned in the next few days by the CBI, made acquaintances with Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa in 2004 and according to the DNA, signed a contract with Gordian Services Sarl, their registered company in Tunisia. The report added that in 2005, around 1,26,000 euros and 2 lakh euros were paid to Tyagi brothers as consultation fee and some of the money went to the air chief.

According to The Times Of India, Tyagi's was codenamed 'Giuli' which means gorgeous girl in Italian. The report also mentions that on 25 March, 2012, Haschke and Haschke met Tyagi at the Milan-Malpensa airport.

The chopper deal resurfaced after an Italian court last month referred to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh among others in connection with the chopper deal but gave no details of any wrongdoing by the two leaders.

The CBI, which has received a copy of the Milan court order, has now prepared a fresh set of questions for Tyagi, who has denied the bribery allegations.

The Milan court has also given details of how alleged bribes were paid by AgustaWestland's parent company Finmeccanica as well as AgustaWestland to Indian officials through middlemen to clinch the deal.

Firms Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland, IDS Infotech Ltd (India) and Aeromatrix India were also booked as accused in the case.

With inputs from IANS

Updated Date: May 03, 2016 14:18 PM

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