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CBI names ex-IAF chief, 10 others

 NEW DELHI, Feb 25 – Armed with documents from Italy, CBI today named former Air Force Chief S P Tyagi in its Preliminary Enquiry into allegations of kickbacks in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal, the second former defence services chief to figure in a scam probe, reports PTI.Besides the former IAF chief, 10 others including his cousins – Julie, Docsa and Sandeep Tyagi have also been named along with four companies in the PE, CBI sources said here.

CBI has registered the PE to probe allegations that some “middlemen have influenced the deal in favour” of the Italian company AgustaWestland for the supply of 12 AW-101 VVIP/VIP helicopters.

It is also learnt that parent company Finmeccanica paid a commission of seven million Euros (about Rs 50 crore) to the middlemen out of which huge sums were transferred to seven Indian nationals through Tunisia and Mauritius, the PE said.

The money was sent in the garb of engineering contracts with two Indian companies – IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix, it said.

This is the second instance when a former services chief figures in a CBI inquiry. Former Naval Chief Admiral Sushil Kumar was named in a CBI case of 2005-06 to probe alleged kickbacks in the purchase of Barak missiles. The case is still under investigation.

The sources said suspected European middlemen Carlo Gerosa, Christian Michel and Guido Haschkhe, advocate Gautam Khaitan formerly associated with Aeromatrix and its CEO Praveen Bakshi, former Finmeccanica Chairman Giuseppe Orsi, former AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini have also been named.

Besides Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland, IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix also figure in the PE, they said.

The team of CBI officials, which returned from Italy with some documents from Finmeccanica and public prosecutor, found enough material in them to start its probe in the alleged payoffs of Rs 362 crore in the helicopter deal, they said.

All the suspects named by the CBI in its PE have denied allegations of receiving or giving kickbacks in the deal.

The sources said the they are likely to be called for questioning in connection with the case.

Orsi, former chairman of the Finmeccanica, was arrested by Italian agencies on February 15 on charges of paying bribe for the contract.

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