NEW DELHI: The Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland helicopter scam has turned more suspect with fresh details emerging on how the deal unfolded, following investigation by the CBI and ED.
Their probe has found that Carlo Gerosa, a key middleman in the VVIP chopper deal, received a call on February 8, 2010, on his Switzerland number 41796****71 from India. The Indian number was 9810****91. It was the day New Delhi formally signed a contract with AgustaWestland.
For the CBI and ED, this is a major piece of link in their probe as the person on the other end was none other than Sandeep Tyagi, cousin of former Air Chief S P Tyagi and one of the accused in the chopper scam. Days later, on February 20, 2010, Sandeep got a call from Switzerland. This time the number was 417*****989. Gerosa’s close aide and another key middleman Guido Haschke was on the line. Bingo!!
Sleuths sifting through thousands of pages of evidence in the scam, which has triggered a political storm, said they have zeroed in on the missing links regarding the Tyagis and arms dealers in the case and soon will confront them to ascertain more details. In the Italian court judgment, the Tyagis are mentioned as ‘Fam’ (family) that helped swing the deal in favour of AgustaWestland.
Sources said they also unearthed another call to Haschke’s Swiss number around the same time. The number was 9810****14 and Sanjeev Tyagi, Sandeep’s brother, was on the line. Months later, in October 2010, an Indian number 9810****17 received a call from Gerosa’s number.
This was Rajiv Tyagi, the third of the Tyagi brothers. This solves another puzzle in the case indicating that all the three brothers were in touch with AgustaWestland arms dealers, though publicly they have denied any wrongdoing.
Sanjeev Tyagi, a source said, also called Gerosa in January, 2010, when the proposal was moved to the Cabinet Committee on Security. Sanjeev, according to sources, also spoke to Haschke in February 2012, when the allegation of kickbacks in the chopper deal first surfaced in the Italian media. The sleuths suspect Sanjeev was in Zurich and perhaps met Haschke and Gerosa and returned to India on December 2, 2010, on Swiss International Air Lines Flight 146.
Sources confirmed that Tyagi was in touch with Gerosa even after the scandal broke and perhaps they remained in contact till April 2012.
“This is the crucial piece of evidence which in fact establishes the links of the players involved. Rajiv was also in touch with Haschke as recently as on April 14 2011. The meetings of key players both inside and outside India after the deal was inked are also under the scanner,” sources said.
One such meeting was allegedly held in Delhi when Haschke landed here. He subsequently left for Zurich on July 15, 2010. The second rendezvous, sleuths suspect, was in Zurich where Sanjeev Tyagi is said to have met key middlemen Haschke and Gerosa before returning to India on December 2, 2010.
It is learnt that five months later, Sanjeev’s brothers - Rajiv Tyagi and Sandeep Tyagi - left for Zurich on June 1, 2011 by Swiss Airlines Flight 147. Sources said Sanjeev Tyagi too followed his brothers and left for Zurich on June 14, 2011.
“There are many more such details which need to be examined and which establish the links of the Tyagi brothers with key middlemen in the scam. Far from being mere coincidence, this is a well-planned operation by the key players involved,” the confidential sources said.