VVIP chopper deal probe: Ex-IAF Chief Tyagi was bribed to swing deal

AgustaWestland

Italian investigators Tuesday alleged that business conglomerate Finmeccanica bribed S P Tyagi when he was chief of the Indian Air Force to swing the controversial AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal in favour of the company.

The allegation is made in a preliminary inquiry report of the suspected corruption in the Rs 3,546 crore deal filed by prosecutors in Italy on Tuesday.

The 64-page report, filed in the tribunal of Busto Arsizio city for the arrest of Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi, gives details of the case being investigated by Italian prosecutors and alleges that the then air chief, S P Tyagi, was instrumental in swinging the deal and was paid "certain amount of money, not yet quantified" through intermediaries.

Several attempts to reach Tyagi for his comment were not successful.

Last October, when The Indian Express had reported that Julie Tyagi, an Indian businessman named by Italian prosecutors in the alleged kickbacks probe, was closely related to S P Tyagi, the former air chief had confirmed to the newspaper that he was related to Julie but had also said they had no business links.

This is the first time that a service chief has been named in a probe into alleged corruption in the procurement of defence systems.

The report, a copy of which is with The Indian Express, alleges that technical requirements for the contract were tweaked by India to allow the AgustaWestland chopper enter the bidding process and that kickbacks of 51 million euros (about Rs 370 crore) were paid in Italy and India.

The Italian report names three brothers Julie Tyagi, Docsa Tyagi and Sandeep Tyagi as the Indian intermediaries who allegedly got kickbacks and passed it on to Indian officials. It says Finmeccanica's Orsi and alleged middlemen Guido Haschke, Carlo Gerosa and Christian Michel facilitated the payments to India.

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