In the leak of top secret test report, proof of chopper dealers' clout
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The alleged middlemen in the Rs 3,546 crore VVIP helicopter deal had access to classified documents of the Indian Air Force, including the carefully guarded evaluation report of the rival firm for the contract, new files accessed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from Italian authorities reveal.
The revelations are an indication of the depth of the alleged middlemen's reach in the Indian defence set-up.
A CBI team that recently visited Italy has been provided with the documents, which were allegedly seized from alleged middlemen Guido Ralph Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.
The agency is now weighing the option of bringing charges under stringent section of the Official Secrets Act. It may even file a separate FIR for the leakage of secret information, and name top IAF officials, sources said.
It is learnt that while analysing several documents supplied by Italian authorities, Indian investigators came across a draft trial evaluation report on the performance of US firm Sikorsky's S 92 helicopter, which was the only rival to Italian AgustaWestland's AW 101 chopper for the contract. This information is considered confidential and critical, because it reveals the weaknesses of the rival firm.
"The field trial report giving details of advantages and disadvantages of the aircraft was a secret document. IAF officials may have to explain how it was leaked to defence dealers," a top CBI official said.
According to sources, the CBI has been given the IAF's purchase plan for one year — information that the Italians found in the laptop of one of the alleged middlemen. The agency is also believed to have received chat messages intercepted by Italian investigators, which apparently point to private deals that some top IAF officials cut.
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