NEW DELHI: Investigators probing the `3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter deal have tightened the noose around scamsters with two Central agencies digging deeper into the kickback trail which connects Indian middlemen in the scam. On Friday, Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials probing the money laundering angle registered a criminal case against former Air Force chief S P Tyagi, while the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) recorded the statement of Goa Governor B V Wanchoo as witness. Wanchoo was questioned in Panaji in the case. Following M K Narayanan’s move, Wanchoo too put in his papers after the CBI questioning.
The CBI had said the statements of Narayanan and Wanchoo were crucial since they had attended the meeting in 2005 where technical specifications for procurement of VVIP choppers were allegedly tweaked to favour AgustaWestland. Narayanan was National Security Advisor and Wanchoo was serving as SPG chief when the alleged amendment was included.
The ED has alleged that the kickback amount was wired by AgustaWestland to IDS Infotech India, IDS Tunisia, Intersteller and IDS Mauritius. The ED had alleged that kickback money to the tune of `362 crore was paid through a circuitous route using fictitious companies in Tunisia and Mauritius. They said a large portion of the amount is still lying in the companies in Mauritius and Tunisia and Letters Rogatory will be executed to unearth it. The ED had cited a conversation recorded by Italian investigators and later shared with Indian authorities which suggests that the kickback was layered deep inside the Tunisian and Mauritian firms.
Wanchoo Resigns as Goa Governor
On a day when the CBI grilled him in the AgustaWestland helicopter deal, Goa Governor B V Wanchoo resigned from the post on Friday. He sent his resignation after he got a call from Home Secretary Anil Goswami in the morning, sources said.