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Feb 25, 2013 at 10:30pm IST

Chopper deal: CBI faces tough task ahead in investigations despite filing PE

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday named former Air Chief SP Tyagi in its Preliminary Enquiry (PE) in the tainted AgustaWestland chopper deal, along with his cousins Julie and Dosca Tyagi and three key middlemen, as alleged beneficiaries of kickbacks. According to the Italian probe report, Gautam Khaitan and Praveen Bakshi were the two individuals who were used to route money into India.

CBI will be probing their role as well. Other names mentioned in the PE include Giuseppe Orsi, CEO of Finmeccanica, which is the parent company of AgustaWestland, and Bruno Spagnolini, former CEO Finmeccanica. It also names Guido Haschke, the key middleman who was handling money for the Indians, Carlo Gerosa, who was Hasckey's partner in the VVIP chopper deal and Christian Michel, who holds the key to the entire AgustaWestland deal and allegedly made Rs 217 crores in the deal.

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CBI has also included companies involved in the deal in its PE, which are Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland, IDS Infotech and chandigarh-based Aeromatrix. However, the nature of the documents that the CBI has based its PE on is still not clear.

Italy had earlier refused to part with any evidence. Any document procured from outside has to be done through Letters Rogatory in order for it to be admissible in an Indian Court.

Big questions that are now casting a doubt over the CBI investigations in the deal are:

1. Did the Tyagi brothers get the 28 million euros mentioned in the Italian probe report, or did someone else get the real share?

2. Is there any proof of Tyagis' involvement beyond Haschke's alleged confessions?

3. Are there other Indians who benefitted with kickbacks?

4. Has CBI filed the PE under pressure or can it really establish the money trail?

The news is less than encouraging for the Indians even from the Defence Ministry, with AgustaWestland denying, in response to a show cause notice served against them, any kind of unfair practice. CBI will have to ascertain whether these money charts, as prepared by the Italians, really show the money being diverted into India or not.