A team of CBI officials is leaving for Milan to question European middleman Guido Haschke who will be produced before an Italian court on January 9 in connection with alleged bribery scandal to clinch Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal in favour of AgustaWestland.
CBI sources said a team led by an SP-level officer will be part of the Defence Ministry team that has been given access to examine the middleman on January 9 before the Milan court where he is facing trial for alleged corrupt activities along with top executives of AgustaWestland and Finmeccanica.
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. It is for the first time that CBI officials will be part of Haschke's examination which has been done by the Defence Ministry officials through their lawyers in the court, the sources said.
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, the parent company of the UK-based AgustaWestland, had used services of middlemen to bribe Indian officials.