NEW DELHI: The CBI probing the `3,600-crore VVIP chopper scam is likely to send teams to record the statements of West Bengal Governor MK Narayanan and his Goa counterpart B V Wanchoo as witnesses in the case.
Sources said the agency had informed the Ministry of Law and Justice, which had earlier rejected the request, that there was no bar on examining the Governors as witnesses.
“The examination of two witnesses will be important for the case as M K Narayanan as NSA and BV Wanchoo as SPG chief had attended the crucial meeting in 2005 where technical specifications for the procurement of VVIP choppers were allegedly tweaked to favour Agustawestland. The Law Ministry had earlier denied the permission and had asked the CBI to explain the purpose behind the examination of governors,” a source said.
In May, Solicitor-General Mohan Parasaran advised against the CBI move to examine the Governors as witnesses, pointing out that they enjoyed constitutional immunity. Parasaran had said questioning governors even as witnesses in a criminal case could result in prosecuting them later.
The Ministry of Defence in a statement had said that Operational Requirements were deliberated on at length between the Indian Air Force, NSA, SPG, PMO and ministry between March, 2005 and September, 2006 and changes related to higher flying ceilings were incorporated.
The required number of VVIP helicopters was further discussed by the ministry, Air Headquarters, and SPG and the Prime Minister’s Office.
The quantity of helicopters proposed for procurement was revised from 8 to 12 helicopters by adding four helicopters in non-VIP configuration for security reasons. Subsequently, the request for proposal was issued in September 2006.
The agency is also looking at the expeditious disposal of a Letter Rogatory pending with Italian authorities to access crucial information related to companies and key players involved in the kickback scandal.