New Delhi: Former Air Chief Marshal (retd) SP Tyagi received cash in return for favouring Anglo-Italian helicopter company AgustaWestland in the controversial Rs 3,600 crore VVIP helicopter deal, the report by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), a copy of which is with CNN-IBN, states. The report, however, fails to mention the amount that was paid to the retired Air Chief Marshal and the mode of payment. The report also adds that Tyagi's cousins received nearly 3,26,000 euros during the course of the deal and that around 20 million euros was routed to India through hawala although it is not known who got the bulk of the amount.
The CBI's report reveals that SP Tyagi received the cash from alleged middlemen Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa. The report reiterates that it was during the tenure of Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi and with his approval that the Indian Air Force conceded to reduce the service ceiling for helicopters from 4500 metres from 6000 metres. The CBI says that till then, the Air Headquarters did not want the ceiling to be reduced as it compromised safety of VVIPs in high altitude areas.
Initially Air Chief Marshal Tyagi declined to comment on these fresh allegations but in February he told CNN-IBN that the requirement for the chopper was frozen in 2003 itself.
"I am innocent. These allegations are totally baseless and I am denying them categorically. the deal was signed in 2010 whereas I retired in 2007 itself. Staff qualitative requirements for the VVIP choppers were frozen in 2003, much before I assumed the office of Chief of Air Staff, and the IAF did not change any requirements after that," he had said on February 13, 2013.
The CBI report, however, remains silent on the role of the PMO, the SPG and the Defence Ministry in reducing the ceiling.
According to the CBI, the Tyagi brothers - Sanjeev (Julie) Tyagi, Rajeev (Docsa) Tyagi and Sandeep Tyagi - received 1,20,000 euros in May 2004 and another 2,00,000 euros in February 2005 from a Tunisia-based company linked to Haschke and Gerosa. The CBI says this is the only big payment that went to the Tyagi brothers.
On March 25, Defence Minister AK Antony said that money was indeed paid in the deal but he did not take any names. "Someone has taken money (in the chopper deal). The corrupt will not be spared," Antony had said in Kochi.
If the Tyagi brothers did not get the big chunk of the 51 million euro kickbacks, then who did? The CBI claims that IDS Infotech India, IDS Tunisa and Aeromatrix are allegedly front companies that were used to transfer kickbacks.
The CBI says 30 million euros were paid to Christian Michel and the remaining amount of over 20 million euros to Haschke and Gerosa through IDS and Aeromatrix. But receipts show only 1.88 million euros was paid to Aeromatrix and 3.8 million to IDS Tunisia. So who got the big bucks? The probe as of now raises more questions than it answers.
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