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Ex-IAF Chief SP Tyagi under scanner over Italian chopper deal

Publish Date: 13 Feb 2013, 10:08 AM
Last Updated: 13 Feb 2013, 12:53 PM
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Chopper deal scam: Ex-IAF Chief in dock
Chopper deal scam: Ex-IAF Chief in dock

New Delhi: A day after the arrest of head of Italian firm Finmeccanica on charges of bribery in connection to the alleged Rs 3600 crore defence helicopter deal, former Indian Air Force (IAF) chief SP Tyagi’s name has been linked with the scam.

Italian investigating agency has claimed that the Finmeccanica firm allegedly bribed the former Indian Air Force (IAF) chief in order to get the deal of AgustaWestland VVIP chopper.

It is being suspected that around 50 million euros (Rs 362 crore approximately), about 10 percent of the deal were ploughed back into kickbacks to ensure AgustaWestland won the contract.

In February 2010, India had inked the deal to acquire the 12 three-engine AW-101 helicopters from AgustaWestland for IAF's elite Communication Squadron, which ferries around the President, PM and other VVIPs.

CBI probe ordered into Rs 36K cr chopper deal

Soon after the news of arrest reached here on Tuesday, Defence Minister A K Antony ordered a CBI probe into the deal.
    
 The Ministry said it had sought information from governments of Italy and UK but "no specific inputs" were received substantiating the allegations.
    
"Since no specific input has been received from the two governments, the Ministry of Defence has decided to refer the case to CBI for inquiry," Defence Ministry spokesman said.
    
The Italian firm had pipped American Sikorsky to bag the crore deal, which was cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security despite initial objections from the finance ministry.
    
The deal has been under the scanner for more than a year now after Italian media reports suggested the arrest of two alleged middlemen in Europe for paying bribes to secure it.
    
The first three of the 12 AgustaWestland VVIP choppers have already arrived in India and the rest are expected to be supplied to the IAF by the middle of next year.

JPN/Bureau

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