New Delhi: Former Air Chief Shashindra Pal Tyagi has admitted being bribed for the AgustaWestland chopper deal, sources have revealed to सिर्फ़ News. CBI had arrested Tyagi for interrogation 3 days ago.
According to our sources, Tyagi has also named Vijay Singh, director of TATA Sons and former defence secretary under the UPA government, who played an important role in finalising the deal. This vindicates Tata Group’s ousted chairman Cyrus Mistry who had accused Singh of the same crime yesterday.
In 2005, Tyagi had allegedly conspired to change IAF’s standard for minimum operational ceiling from 6,000 m to 4,500 m to make AgustaWestland eligible for the bid. The CBI claims he had received bribes in various forms through middlemen via his relatives.
Here is a list of significant developments in this case so far (in chronological order):
- In February 2010, the Government of India signed a contract with helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland to purchase 12 AW101 chopper for carrying Indian VVIPs. The net worth of this deal was Rs 3,600 crore.
- In February 2013, the Italian government arrested the CEO of Finmeccanica, Giuseppe Orsi. Finmeccania is AgustaWestland’s parent company. Orsi had allegedly bribed several Indian Air Force officials, politicians and bureaucrats to get the deal. The news led to an uproar in Parliament; the then Defence Minister AK Antony immediately ordered a CBI probe.
- A note presented in an Italian court allegedly shows that an AgustaWestland middleman Christian Michel had asked that firm’s employee Peter Hulett to target Sonia Gandhi’s advisers Manmohan Singh, Ahmed Patel, Pranab Mukherjee, Veerappa Moily, Oscar Fernandez, MK Narayanan and Vinay Singh.
- The CBI registered and named 13 others in an FIR including Tyagi, his brothers Juli, Docsa and Sandeep in relation to this scandal.
- Indian arms dealer Abhishek Verma and his wife Anca Neacsu were accused of playing middlemen with India’s Cabinet ministers. Subsequently, they were arrested on the charges of bribery and laundering money through their company’s bank accounts in Mauritius, Bermuda and New York.
- In September 2015, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) found and attached properties worth approximately Rs 7 crore allegedly in name of Tyagi’s family members.
- In December 2016, CBI arrested and took Tyagi into custody for questioning.
Tyagi had consistently claimed to be innocent for the last 3 years. In the wake of his latest revelations, the CBI may pursue several politicians and bureaucrats for questioning.
List of people who may be under the CBI’s radar:
- Manmohan Singh, ex-PM,
- Principal Secretary to Manmohan Singh: TK Nair
- Narayanan, former NSA
- Ranjit Sinha, former director, CBI
The CBI had also got Letters Rogatory (judicial requests) issued to multiple countries to gather more leads and evidence in this case.