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AgustaWestland chopper deal: Italian probe names Tyagis

Bhupendra Chaubey, | http://bhupendrachaube

Updated: February 14, 2013, 9:58 PM IST
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AgustaWestland chopper deal: Italian probe names Tyagis
Details coming out of the Italian probe report raise some very uncomfortable questions for SP Tyagi.

New Delhi: The man in the line of fire in the tainted AgustaWestland chopper deal, former Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi, has so far maintained that he has had nothing to do with the VVIP chopper deal. However, details coming out of the Italian probe report raise some very uncomfortable questions for him and provide some very specific details about the Tyagi connection to the deal.

In the probe report, an accused, who goes by the abbreviation ADR, has explained how he met Former Air Chief SP Tyagi along with his cousin Julie Tyagi. He also explained how much money was paid to the Tyagi family.

He said, "I told Engineer Orsi that I had strong relations with the Tyagi family, and because of this the Air Chief Marshal had met Mr Zappa. At that time, there was only the "Request for Information". In repeated meetings, I was convinced this would be a tender and I, through my important contacts in India, could work to get it awarded to Agusta. In the Tyagi meeting, one topic was the limit of 18000 feet altitude which excluded all competitors but the French company Eurocompter, which did not have a VIP model available."

When asked if of the first 400,000 Euros received by AW Ltd for consultation, did a part go to the Tyagi family, ADR said, "Yes, I deposited 100,000 Euros. There was a contract between us and the Indians to take 50 per cent each of the consultation fee. But we did that only for the first two portions. The other 200,000 Euros were negotiated by me and Gerosa on the basis of expenses which we bore on the trips to India."

However, the larger question which still hasn't been answered is SP Tyagi's role. Was he involved in receiving the kickbacks or not? So far the former Air Chief has admitted that Julie and Dosca Tyagi were his cousins. But he has maintained that he had no idea whether his cousins were involved in defence deals or not.

In the second part of his statement, ADR said, "The money was placed in Julie's hands in cash during the frequent trips to India. I should specify that the contract was with the Tyagi family but the money was handed to Julie."

When asked if he had ever deposited any of the above mentioned money in bank accounts in Switzerland or in other foreign countries, he said, "Personally, no. But Julie had some credit cards prepaid at Corner Bank. These credit cards were activated in few successive occasions. But I have never put any money in them."

This implies that a sum of 4,00,000 Euros was given to the Tyagi family, with the understanding that SP Tyagi himself would receive a part of it. The probe report also names lawyer Gautam Khaitan as the person who was handling the money. It even shows details how monthly payments were being made to two Indian subsidiaries of AgustaWestland, all essentially a platform for laundering of money.

In conclusion, the Italian probe report states that the entire deal couldn't have been managed without the readiness of Air chief SP Tyagi himself.

First Published: February 14, 2013, 9:58 PM IST
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