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Feb 18, 2013 at 08:37am IST

Chopper deal: Key middlemen not traceable; CBI team set to leave for Italy

New Delhi: From Guido Haschke to Carlos Gerosa, key middlemen in the AgustaWestland chopper deal seem to have gone underground. CNN-IBN has been trying to get in touch with the key middlemen, but they have been untraceable. Haschke's neighbours told CNN-IBN that he has moved from his current address or is taken from there. They did not have a forward contact address.

It was a similar situation outside the residence of another middleman Carlos Gerosa. Carlos was not at his given address either. The magistrate had earlier ordered house arrest for him and it is very likely that he would be in any other location physically.

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Carlos is named in the Italian investigation report as having teamed up with Haschke, but particularly to receive and transfer money to two companies IDS India and IDS Tunisia.

Meanwhile, a Central Bureau of Investigation team is set to leave for Italy on Monday to investigate whether firms were floated in India just to route kickbacks. The team will try to meet Italian prosecutors to ascertain details of the case.

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The CBI has engaged a lawyer in Italy to represent India's case with the Italian government and the local courts to find out the role of Indians in the alleged kickbacks in the VVIP helicopter deal. The team comprises a CBI DIG, a law officer of the agency, a Joint Secretary level officer of Defence Ministry and an official of the External Affairs Ministry, the sources said.

An Italian probe report claims that three cousins of former Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi were among the beneficiaries. However, Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi's cousin Sanjeev Tyagi on Saturday rubbished allegations of his involvement in the tainted AgustaWestland chopper deal in an exclusive interview to CNN-IBN. Speaking to Rajdeep Sardesai, Sanjeev, who is mentioned in the Italian probe reports as 'Julie' Tyagi, said that the allegations against him and his cousin SP Tyagi were baseless and had maligned the image of their families.

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"I have no links with AgustaWestland. I am not aware of any deal. I did not receive any payment. (Guido Ralph) Haschke is lying. Finnmeccanica is trying to cover up its own bungling. The charges are baseless. It is very easy to tarnish someone's reputation, but can the media pay it back?" he said.

Sanjeev revealed that he had met Haschke in 2001 in connection with a power sector deal and that he had known Carlo Gerosa, another middleman in the chopper deal, since 1995 through a deal related to the infrastructure sector. He also said that he had met Haschke through Gerosa.