CBI questions retired IAF deputy chief in AgustaWestland case

Agusta DealCBI had named 13 individuals in the FIR, including former Chief of Air Staff, SP Tyagi and European middlemen Carlo Gerosa, in connection with the alleged bribery in AgustaWestland deal. (PTI)

CBI on Friday questioned a retired Air Marshal of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in connection with the VVIP helicopter deal.

Sources said that the officer, ex-Deputy Air Chief JS Gujral, was examined as a witness in the case.

Gujral had retired as an IAF commander a few years back. As deputy IAF chief, he was in charge of procurements.

CBI is inching towards filing its charge sheet in the case as it has got almost all the documents from Italy, which are now being studied, sources said. The agency managed to get the complete tranche of records, received from Italy, translated into English.

Sources said the records were being analysed by sleuths who would decide on the charges to be pressed against the accused named in the FIR, including former Chief of Air Staff, SP Tyagi, and his three cousins.

CBI had named 13 individuals in the FIR, including Tyagi and European middlemen Carlo Gerosa, Christian Michel and Guido Haschke, in connection with the alleged bribery.

Italian agencies had arrested the then CEO of AgustaWestland, Giuseppe Orsi, for alleged bribes given to Indian middlemen to clinch the deal.

The supply of 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland had come under scanner after Italian authorities alleged that bribes were paid by the company to clinch the deal.

The Italian prosecutor who carried out the preliminary inquiry alleged that the CEO of Finmeccanica, the parent company of the UK-based AgustaWestland, had used services of middlemen to bribe Indian officials.

The probe agency has alleged that during his tenure as IAF chief, Tyagi and, "with his approval", Air Force "conceded to reduce the service ceiling for VVIP helicopters from 6,000m to 4,500m as mandatory (although) it had vehemently opposed the same on grounds of security constraints and other related reasons".

"Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa managed to send Euro 5.6 million through Mohali-based IDS Infotech and Chandigarh-based Aeromatrix Info Solutions Private Ltd to India and kept the remaining amount of about Euro 24.30 million received from AgustaWestland with themselves in the account of IDS Tunisia," according to the FIR in the case.

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