In the wake of the Opposition onslaught against Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam, Union Defence Minister A K Antony on Wednesday tried to bailout Sonia saying that the ‘F A M’ acronym, which appeared in the Agusta documents, stood for the family of former IAF chief S P Tyagi, who has been chargesheeted by the CBI.
And the Defence Minister revealed this while making a suo motu statement in the Rajya Sabha.
“During the hearing in the Italian court, one unsigned handwritten paper was produced, which had headings ‘A F’, ‘B U R’, ‘P O L’ (under which A P is recorded), ‘F A M’ etc,” he said. The middleman Guido Haschke, from whom the document was recovered, had been cross-examined on this and a transcript of the deposition was received by the Ministry of Defence(MoD)through the Indian Consulate in Milan.
“It is seen during the course of cross-examination of Haschke, in response to a specific question by the Italian public prosecutor as to the meaning of ‘F A M’, Haschke replied that ‘F A M’ is family,” Antony said.
Significantly, Antony’s attempts to establish that ‘F A M’ stood for Tyagi’s kin have coincided with the emergence of an unsigned, typed document purportedly from another middleman Christian Michel to an individual identified as Peter Hulett, which asked the latter to focus on seven key Congress politicians including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who were close to Sonia.
Michel’s missive, which too was presented in the Italian court and reported first by the local media, also mentioned that it was Sonia Gandhi, who would no more use the existing Russian-origin Mi-8 VIP choppers, indicating that the helicopters were being primarily bought for her travel.
However, the Defence Minister told Parliament “the authenticity of these documents was not proved” and the case is currently being heard by the Italian court.
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