New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday questioned former Indian Air Force chief SP Tyagi in connection with the AgustaWestland chopper deal case. Earlier reports had said that Tyagi would be questioned on Thursday.
The former Air Chief, who reached the CBI headquarters here at about 3.00 pm, was quizzed for over two hours after his cousins Julie and Docsa Tyagi faced a volley of questions on their alleged association with European middlemen Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschkhe.
Gerosa and Haschkhe have been accused by the Italian investigators of payment of illegal gratification to swing the deal for 12 VVIP choppers in favour of AgustaWestland. The sources said agency has already questioned executives of Indian arms of Aeromatrix and IDS Infotech - companies through which alleged bribe was routed from Mauritius and Tunisia in the garb of payments for engineering contracts.
In his probe report, the Italian prosecutor had said that Gerosa and Haschkhe had close contacts with former Air Chief's family, particularly his three cousins - Julie, Docsa and Sandeep. It had claimed that Haschkhe and Gerosa, through the Tyagi brothers, managed to change the tender details, modifying the 'operational ceiling' from 18,000 feet to 15,000 feet altitude, thus making AgustaWestland eligible to take part in the tender process.
The report also said that the duo managed to introduce a comparative flight trial with non-functional engine, thus facilitating AgustaWestland helicopters, the only ones which had three engines, swinging the deal in its favour. The deal came under the scanner after the head of a state-controlled Italian aerospace company that is suspected of paying bribes of about Rs 362 crore in India to get orders for the helicopters was arrested, prompting the government to order a CBI probe.
The CEO of Finmeccanica Giuseppe Orsi and AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini were arrested by Italian investigators in connection with the case. The CEOs paid the middlemen through a consultancy contract between AgustaWestland and Gordian Services Sarl an amount of 400,000 Euros (about Rs 2.8 crore) of which 100,000 Euros (Rs 72 lakh) were paid cash to the Tyagi brothers (Julie, Docsa and Sandeep), the report said.
The former Air Chief and his three cousins have denied the allegations.
With additional information from PTI