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

SP Tyagi

But Haschke has claimed that technical specifications of the deal were discussed in detail during the meetings.

"In this meeting we spoke about the helicopters. (Air Chief) Marshal Tyagi informed us that the operational ceiling will be lowered. Carlo and I thanked him for coming to the office. The meeting was very short," Haschke has said.

He said he met the officer again around the end of 2006.

"During this meeting we spoke about the technical specifications of the AW101 helicopters. The operational ceiling had already been lowered. AW had prepared a good technical document about the 101 comparing it with the competitors...Tyagi analysed it carefully and while giving it back he told (AgustaWestland official) Lunardi to send it officially to the Indian Air Force," the confession statement reads.

Earlier on Wednesday, Tyagi told reporters that two critical changes were carried out in the contract requirements - one suggested by the Special Protection Group (SPG) in charge of VVIP security and the other by the Defence ministry.

"As far as I know the process started in 2000 and when it started, 18,000 ft was the height at which the aircraft was to go. In 2003, the government said that only one helicopter company can go at 18,000 ft - it was a French company - and as it was the only one there was a problem," Tyagi said, referring to the single-vendor situation that had apparently arisen.

Tyagi added that some requirements were also changed by the SPG in 2003 when they asked for a higher cabin door on the chopper so that troops could stand on the doors with their guns for additional security.

"The specifications were changed to 15,000 ft and the cabin height was also increased as the SPG could not stand on the doors with their guns," Tyagi said.

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