ibnlive » India

Mar 09, 2013 at 09:37am IST

AgustaWestland deal: CBI may quiz Goa Governor Wanchoo

New Delhi: Former Indian Air Force (IAF) chief SP Tyagi has named former Special Protection Group (SPG) chief Bharat Vir Wanchoo as being one of the men responsible for making alterations to the terms of the AgustaWestland deal. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is likely to question Wanchoo who enjoys constitutional immunity, as the current Goa Governor.

Tyagi named Wanchoo as one of the two people responsible for changing the terms of the VVIP chopper deal. Wanchoo was the SPG chief in 2005, when Tyagi was the Air Chief and Pranab Mukherjee was the defence minister. The three alongwith the then National Security Advisor (NSA) MK Narayanan were responsible for approving the changed tender conditions. Both Narayanan and Wanchoo are now state governors.

ALSO SEE AgustaWestland deal: CBI set to name ex-IAF chief SP Tyagi in FIR

But probing the former SPG chief will be tough as he enjoys constitutional immunity being the current Governor of Goa. The first test of the CBI's seriousness of getting to the bottom of this controversy is whether they get to question Wanchoo.

Meanwhile, the CBI is all set to file an FIR against him under sections of cheating and bribery in the AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter deal. CBI officials believe that Air Chief Marshal (retd) SP Tyagi accepted a bribe from his cousins to help AgustaWestland's entry into the tender process to supply 12 VVIP helicopter to India.

Sources said that Tyagi's cousins - Sanjeev and Docsa Tyagi - were involved in defence deals in India and not power projects as they have been claiming. Sources says kickbacks were paid to the Tyagi brothers through fake engineering contracts in Mauritius and Tunisia. Lawyer Gautam Khaitan and businessman Parveen Bakshi of Aeromatrix allegedly routed bribe money to the Tyagis, said sources. They also said that during interrogation, SP Tyagi named late Brajesh Mishra and the Special Protection Group (SPG) for recommending change in tender conditions. Sources add that Tyagi, his cousins, Gautam Khaitan and Parveen Bakshi will be booked under charges of cheating and bribery. Alleged middlemen Guido Haschke and former Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi are allegedly responsible for giving bribes to the Tyagi brothers.

The CBI is reportedly basing its investigations on the Italian probe report into the Finmeccanica deal. Alleged middleman Haschke has confessed to the police to have met SP Tyagi six-seven times. However, Tyagi has denied meeting Haschke. Another alleged middleman Christian Michel allegedly promised to transfer 'huge amount of money' through Tyagi cousins to SP Tyagi.

The allegations against the Tyagi cousins - Juli, Docsa and Sandeep - are also based on the Italian probe report. Haschke and Gerosa were allegedly commissioned specifically to use the brothers to help swing the deal and 400,000 Euros were paid as commission to each middleman, out of which 100,000 Euros allegedly went to the Tyagis.

The FIR will also include names of Gautam Khaitan - former Director of Aeromatrix and the company's head Praveen Bakshi - both already questioned by the CBI. Both names figure prominently in conversations between Haschke and Gerosa - recorded by the Italian police. CNN-IBN has exclusively accessed excerpts of those conversations.

This raises some big questions:

On what basis does the CBI believe that it has cracked the money trail?

CBI basing its opinion purely on what's been stated in the Italian probe report?

If Tyagis did accept money, how was it routed to them and what did they do with it?

What does the CBI have on the other key accused, Christian Michel?

Will the CBI manage to find out who was the political beneficiary in this deal?

Will former SPG chief and now Goa Governor Wanchoo also be questioned?