New Delhi: The former Indian Air Force Chief S P Tyagi was questioned for the third consecutive day on Wednesday about his alleged role in the Rs 3600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter scam and his links with the Finmeccanica officials.
Apart from Tyagi, advocate and former board member of Aeromatrix Gautam Khaitan was grilled in connection with the controversial chopper deal. Sources said that the duo – Tyagi and Khaitan – were confronted during the eight hours interrogations at CBI headquarters. Khaitan during his questioning admitted setting up IDS Tunisia. Interestingly, IDS Tunisia is a subsidiary of IDS India. The company was one among the many through which the alleged bribe was routed by the middlemen from Agusta Westland to other countries, the sources said.
The focus of the questioning was his alleged links with Italian middlemen-- Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschkhe, the sources said. Khaitan has also been asked to join the probe on Thursday.
The agency has also called the then Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Plans) N V Tyagi to join the probe in the case. N V Tyagi was part of a team of senior officials who were involved in the deliberations to reduce the specifications of the helicopters for the VVIPs.
While, sources said, CBI has not called S P Tyagi on Thursday for further questioning, Enforcement Directorate has summoned him to join the investigation.
The ED has begun a trail of cash which is suspected to have been paid as alleged kickbacks for the purchase of 12 helicopters from UK-based AgustaWestland.
ED, which has been probing the money laundering angle in the case, has also summoned cousins of Tyagi -- Sanjeev, Rajeev and Sandeep -- after his round of questioning is over besides realty firm Emaar MGF's boss Shravan Gupta.
Gupta's name cropped up after it was found that the alleged middleman Guido Haschke was an independent director of the firm between September to December 2009. The ED, in its charge sheet filed last year in a court, had claimed to have detected flow of alleged kickbacks sent from abroad to companies of the accused Gautam Khaitan and cousin brothers of the former IAF chief.
The ED, as per the charge sheet, had traced two payments of Euro 1,26,000 and another two lakh Euros from a company based in Tunisia and others made to Tyagi brothers "camouflaged" in the form of consultancy fee and its probe had found that the said "remittances correspond with the developments taking place in alteration/reduction of mandatory servicing ceiling of the helicopters."
The ED claimed that "besides these two remittances, the Tyagi brothers including the then IAF Chief Tyagi, also received some amount of cash from Haschke and Gerosa."
The CBI had named 13 individuals in the FIR, including Tyagi and European middlemen Carlo Gerosa, Christian Michel and Guido Haschke, in connection with the alleged bribery.
Italian agencies had arrested the then CEO of AgustaWestland, Giuseppe Orsi, for alleged bribes given to Indian middlemen to clinch the deal.
The supply of 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland had come under scanner after Italian authorities alleged that bribes were paid by the company to clinch the Rs. 3,600 crore deal.