Chopper Scam: CBI Examines Former Deputy Air Force Chief

The sources said CBI has examined over 100 people in connection with the case including all the Indian accused as it needs to examine five foreign nationals.

Published: 30th April 2016 09:01 PM  |   Last Updated: 30th April 2016 09:01 PM   |  A+A-

By PTI

NEW DELHI: Starting a fresh round of questioning after a recent order of an Italian court in Agusta Westland alleged corruption case, CBI today quizzed former IAF Deputy Chief JS Gujral for over eight hours in the case.

He will be called again for questioning, CBI sources said, adding that three Tyagi brothers--cousins of former IAF Chief S P Tyagi--have also been asked to appear before the investigation team next week.

The former IAF Chief will be appearing before CBI on Monday, CBI sources said.

CBI has so far maintained that Gujral, who was procurement chief in IAF in 2005, was questioned as a witness in 2013 but was tightlippe on whether he retains the same status. The agency, so far, has not levelled any allegation against him.

"He is cooperating with us. We may call him again soon for another round," an official said.

Tyagi and Gujral have been questioned at length in 2013 but the fresh round of questioning was necessitated after April 7 order of  Milan Court of Appeals--equivalent of Indian High Courts which indicated corruption in the deal.

The sources said CBI has examined over 100 people in connection with the case including all the Indian accused as it needs to examine five foreign nationals.

They said the agency has received response of Letter Rogatory from Italy while partial responses have been received from British Virgin Islands, the United Kingdom and Tunisia.

However, to arrive at any conlcusion CBI needs responses from other countries as well.

CBI has sent judicial requests to eight countries with an aim to unravel the money trail of the alleged bribe of around Rs 400 crore which was paid to clinch the deal, they said.

The agency had registered a case against former IAF Chief S P Tyagi and 12 others including his three cousins and five foreign nationals in the case. Tyagi has denied the allegations.

In addition, six companies including Italy-based Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland, Mohali-based IDS Infotech, Chandigarh based Aeromatrix, IDS Tunisia and IDS Mauritius have also been booked by the CBI in its FIR.

The allegation against the former Air Chief was that he had reduced flying ceiling of the helicopter from altitude ceiling requirement from 6,000m to 4,500m (15,000ft) so that AgustaWestland could be included in the bids.

However, this decision was taken in consultation with the officials of SPG and the Prime Minister's Office.

CBI has alleged reduction of the service ceiling--maximum height at which a helicopter can perform normally--allowed the UK-based firm to get into the fray as, otherwise, its helicopters were not even qualified for submission of bids.

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