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CBI registers PE in chopper deal; ex-IAF chief SP Tyagi, his cousins named

CNN-IBN
Feb 25, 2013 at 03:27pm IST

New Delhi: A preliminary enquiry (PE) has been registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland 101 helicopter deal. Sources say that former Indian Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal (retd) SP Tyagi and his cousins Julie Tyagi and Dosca Tyagi have been named in the CBI PE.

A CBI team which had returned from Italy on Friday claims that the agency has enough documents to investigate the case in which several middlemen were paid kickback to help AgustaWestland bag the deal to supply 12 helicopters to India.

CBI sources say that documents from Italy clearly show that middlemen have paid money. The sources add that the investigation will also reveal other names who may have been involved in the deal too.

Italian authorities had, however, refused to part with crucial evidence and hand them over to the CBI team. The CBI had also met AgustaWestland's parent company Finmeccanica during their Italy trip.

But the CBI will have to clearly establish if the Tyagi brothers got 28 million Euro as mentioned in the Italian probe report of of the share went to someone else? Is there any proof of Tyagis involvement beyond Haschke's alleged confessions? Are there other Indians who benefited from kickbacks? Will the CBI be able to reach key players like Christian Michel, Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa? named in the Italian probe report? Has the PE filed been a token response - simply done under pressure and can the money trail be established?

The team, constituted of officials from the CBI, the Ministry of Defence and the External Affairs Ministry, said its meeting with the Italian Foreign Ministry officials, prosecutors and Finmeccanica management was fruitful.

During the meeting, CBI officials had requested the Italian firm to hand over the report of its internal probe to them so that it could be examined in India and a proper investigation could be conducted. The CBI team along with officials from Defence and External Affairs Ministry had also met senior officials of the Italian judiciary including the judge in the case to request for assistance in probing the role of Indians in connection with alleged kickbacks in the deal.

Some more assistance would be provided after the local elections in Italy would be over this week, the team was told besides been conveyed that that the probe in that country was at a preliminary stage. The visiting team was also told that the arrest of Giuseppe Orsi, chairman of the Finmeccanica, and Bruno Spagnolini, Chief Executive officer of AgustaWestland, was more of a preventive nature so that they did not tamper with evidence.

The CBI's decision to send a team to Italy came after it virtually drew a blank from the Defence Ministry in getting information required for its probe. The CBI was handed over a letter from the Defence Ministry seeking a probe by it in the case which has triggered a political storm in the country.

Attached with the letter were some Indian and Italian press clippings, which, the CBI said, could not form the basis for registering a case. This was followed by CBI seeking help of Interpol which also expressed inability to provide any help in the absence of any regular case not having been registered by the agency, they said.

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