Key middleman's confession: Met ex-IAF Chief S P Tyagi 6-7 times

SP Tyagi

A Swiss-based middleman who was allegedly instrumental in fixing the IAF's controversial VVIP chopper deal has confessed to Italian authorities that he had met the then Air Chief S P Tyagi 6-7 times and had discussed the technical specifications for the contract with him.

The middleman, Guido Haschke, has also said that he received 20 million euros as commission and of this, 12 million euros were passed on to S P Tyagi's Delhi-based businessmen cousins Julie Tyagi, Docsa Tyagi and Sandeep Tyagi.

The confession was recorded before prosecutors in November 2012, and included in the 64-page investigation report filed on Tuesday for the arrest of Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi for his suspected role in arranging bribes to bag the Indian chopper contract.

The Indian Express was on Wednesday the first to report that the Italian investigation report also alleged that Finmeccanica bribed Tyagi when he was Air Chief to swing the chopper deal in favour of its subsidiary AgustaWestland.

Tyagi, however, has denied the allegations and demanded a probe. He said the alleged move to favour AgustaWestland — by changing the technical specifications to allow it to enter the bid — had taken place in 2003, a year before he became Air Chief. He said he had learnt this from his colleagues and friends.

"I am not just ready for an inquiry but I want an inquiry. I can say that the Air Force did not change any requirements when I was the Chief," Tyagi told reporters on Wednesday.

The former Air Chief also dismissed Haschke's claims about their meetings and said his statements were not true.

In his confession, Lugano-based consultant Haschke — one of the two key middlemen in the deal along with Christian Michel — has said that his commission of 20 million euros or 3.5 per cent of the chopper deal, was received through bogus engineering contracts.

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