ibnlive » India

Jan 09, 2014 at 08:24pm IST

AgustaWestland deal: CBI questions middleman Guido Haschke

New Delhi: A team of Defence Ministry and CBI officials are questioning middleman Guido Haschke in the Rs 3600-crore AgustaWestland chopper scam in Italy. It is for the first time that CBI officials were part of Haschke's examination.

Sources said that Haschke has refused to answer any specific query from the CBI.

Sources further added that the Swiss businessman has claimed that no money was paid as bribe to Indian officials and added that details of the transactions have been mentioned in the account books of Finmeccanica, the parent company of the UK-based AgustaWestland. Sources said that he claimed that the money given to IDS infotech in Chandigarh was for an engineering contract.

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.

The Milan court had allowed Indian authorities to examine Haschke in the bribery case, which is being heard in that country. Haschke was arrested in Switzerland from where he has been brought to Italy.

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. "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 had used services of middlemen to bribe Indian officials.

(with inputs from PTI)