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Feb 07, 2014 at 05:36pm IST

AgustaWestland scam: Another Air ex-Chief, Fali Major, named in probe

New Delhi: The AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam took a new turn as the name of another former Air Chief Fali Major cropped up during investigations. Finmeccanica lawyers mentioned him in an Italian court saying he had reportedly accepted the company's hospitality while on a trip to Italy in 2007. Major though vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

Fali Major said, "It's always part of your official trips abroad when you go, whatever is chalked out for you. We were never alone on these things. It was not a personal visit but an official visit approved by the government."

While any instance of irregularities on his part has not surfaced, the question is, as serving Chief was he right to accept hospitality by a private firm aiming to do business with Indian Defence? Finmeccanica lawyers claimed since Major's expertise was in helicopters, he was being approached. Major defended himself strongly.

Fali Major said, "If I remember correctly the Finmechanica I visited in Italy did not make the AgustaWestland helicopters."

On Wednesday, Senior Vice President of Finmeccanica Giacomo Soprano had named former Air Chief SP Tyagi for having accepted company's hospitality. Tyagi has already been named in the CBI FIR. The twist came when lawyers clarified, Soprano had messed up. He meant Fali Major and not Tyagi.

Soprano will, however, continue with his deposition in court on Friday.

At a time when middleman Christian Michel letter naming key Congress leaders who needed to be approached to push the deal through, the mention of Fali Major raises the question as to how much Finmeccanica was able to or claimed to be able to penetrate. With Parliament in session, the AgustaWestland case is bound to ensure turbulent weather for the Congress.