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Tyagi used to brief us on tender: middlemen

The alleged middleman in the deal for VVIP helicopters have claimed that the then Air Chief S P Tyagi used to brief them on the developments in the tender, according to Italian investigators.

Haschke and Gerosa have reportedly claimed that Tyagi would keep them updated on the tender for the 12 helicopters during their meetings, which are believed to have taken place six to seven times.

They have also claimed that they had managed to modify conditions of the tender, including reducing the flight ceiling from 18,000 to 15,000 feet, which made Augusta’s AW- 101 eligible for the bid, according to a report filed by investigators in an Italian court.

‘(Guido Ralph) Hashcke and (Carlo) Gerosa, through the Tyagi brothers, in turn through their cousin ACM SP Tyagi, managed first to change the tender details, in a way to favour, modifying the ‘operational ceiling’ from 18,000 to 15,000 feet of altitude, thus allowing AgustaWestland spa (which otherwise could not have even submitted an offer) to take part in the tender,’ the report said.

‘They managed to introduce a comparative flight trial with non-functional engine, thus facilitating AgustaWestland helicopters, the only ones which had three engines. In this way they managed to get the contract to AgustaWestland,’ it alleged. Tyagi has denied any wrongdoing although he has admitted having met one of the alleged middlemen at the residence of his cousin.

According to the investigators, 21 million euros (about Rs. 150 crore) were paid as kickbacks under the cover of engineering contracts reportedly through companies IDS Tunisia and IDS India. ‘There were other meetings at (IAF chief) Tyagi’s offices during the time when he was still in office. In these meetings there was me, Gerosa but no one from AW (AgustaWestland) or Finmeccanica. During these meetings, Marshal Tyagi used to tell us about developments in the tender,’ ADR, one of the alleged middlemen, has claimed.

The report suggests that the middlemen had close contacts with the family of Tyagi, particularly his three cousins.

According to the report, the invoices issued by IDS India and Tunisia indicated in detail the giving of funds intended to reward the consultants and to remunerate India’s corrupt public officials.

The arrested CEOs of the two companies had also ‘paid Guido Ralph Hashcke and Carlo Gerosa (two other alleged middlemen), through a consultancy contract between AW spa and Gordian Services Sarl an amount of 400,000 Euros (about Rs. 2.8 crore), of which 100,000 Euros (Rs 72 lakh) were paid cash to the Tyagi brothers (Julie, Docsa and Sandeep.’

Tyagi has refuted allegations that he was paid bribes to swing the deal for procuring 12 choppers.


BJP SPLIT ON FORMER AIR CHIEF’S ROLE


BJP is split over the stand to be taken on the role of former Air Chief Marshal S P Tyagi in the alleged kickbacks received in VVIP chopper deal. While on one hand, the party has said that Tyagi is himself under suspicion, senior BJP leader and former Defence Minister Jaswant Singh on Thursday came out in his defence. ‘We should not make wild allegations. It is not in the interest of the Air Force and the country. The probe is on and Tyagi himself is saying that the probe should be held early,’ said Singh.  The party, however, at the official press briefing, took a divergent view. ‘BJP feels Tyagi definitely has a lot to answer. He can’t escape and if there are others involved in the scam, they also have to be questioned,’ said BJP spokesperson Niramala Sitharaman. Even on Wednesday, the party had said that Tyagi’s views should be taken with a pinch of salt. (Samarth Saran)
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