Key middleman tells court in Italy: Commission split with Tyagi brothers

VVIP chopper dealVVIP chopper deal

THE key middleman in the alleged VVIP chopper kickbacks scandal, who has been accused of conspiring to fix the Rs 3,546 crore deal, has claimed that he knew in advance about the change in the qualitative requirements of the contract and that the plan was to divide a commission of 7 per cent with the three "Tyagi brothers" — cousins of then Air Chief S P Tyagi.

Responding to questions in court in Busto Arsizio in Italy on Monday, Guido Haschke, a Swiss businessman who is one of the main accused in the case, claimed he knew the Tyagi brothers — Julie, Docsa and Sandeep — well and that he helped set up a key meeting between an AgustaWestland official and S P Tyagi to discuss the contract through these connections.

Haschke, his business partner Carlo Gerosa and British middleman Christian Michel are the main accused in the alleged 51 million euro kickbacks scandal. Haschke has spoken about his role in fixing the deal in the past but this is the first time he has shared details in a court.

Monday was the first day of his questioning in court and he is to be quizzed again on December 6.

The MoD is likely to scrap the contract for the 12 choppers and has issued a final showcause notice to the Anglo-Italian manufacturer. Defence Minister A K Antony has said that there has been wrongdoing and has made it clear there is no question of joining an arbitration process initiated by the company.

But in its reply, AgustaWestland last week claimed that no wrong has been done and that it has not violated the stringent integrity contract.

Although the former Air Chief and his cousins have been named in the CBI FIR in the case, all four have maintained they did not play any dubious role in the contract.

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