New Delhi: CBI on Monday started examination of suspects in connection with alleged kickbacks received in the Rs 3600 crore VVIP chopper deal as it reached Chandigarh and questioned executives of IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix-firms named in its preliminary enquiry (PE). CBI sources, without revealing identities said officials of both the firms were examined in connection with PE registered by it.
The agency suspects that a portion of Rs 362 crore bribe was allegedly routed to Indian nationals, through Tunisia and Mauritius, camouflaged as payments for engineering contracts to Chandigarh-based--IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix. Both the companies had denied involvement in the bribery scandal. The sources said records related to ownership of these companies, the contracts handled by them and several other related documents were also collected from these officials by the CBI investigators.
They said executives of the two Chandigarh-based firms were asked to join the probe of the agency into allegations that several million Euros were paid to three European middlemen to swing the VVIP helicopter deal in favour of Finmeccanica's subsidiary AgustaWestland. Two middlemen, from their share of commission, allegedly paid huge sums of money to several Indian nationals under the cover of payments of engineering contracts with the two Chandigarh-based firms, the PE said.
The agency had registered a preliminary enquiry against 11 people including former IAF chief S P Tyagi, his three cousins, European middlemen and four companies--Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland, IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix. All these suspects have refuted allegations against them.