New Delhi: The CBI has formed a Special Investigation Team to expedite its probe into two high profile cases of VVIP chopper scam and the alleged loan fraud by businessman Vijay Mallaya. The SIT will be headed by Rakesh Asthana, an Additional Director in the CBI.
He is a Gujarat cadre IPS officer who had earlier headed the state SIT for probing the burning of the Sabarmati Express train at Godhara in February 2002. CBI sources said the SIT will focus primarily on these two cases.
Investigations into the chopper scam gained momentum after conviction of former heads of Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland by an Italian court regarding the Rs 3,600 crore deal which was allegedly clinched after bribing some Indians.
The sources further added that the judgement by the Milan Court of Appeals has “made it clear” that bribes were paid by UK-based AgustaWestland, a sister concern of Italy’s Finmeccanica.
The SIT will now investigate who were the beneficiaries of the kickbacks and establish the chain of fund flow. Responses to Letters Rogatory sent in this regard are awaited.
Another case the SIT would probe relates to alleged diversion of loans of thousands of crores of rupees taken by Kingfisher Airlines to their foreign accounts.
The agency had registered a case against former IAF Chief S.P. Tyagi and 12 others, including his three cousins and five foreign nationals, in connection with the VVIP chopper scam.
The allegation against the former Air Chief was that he had reduced flying ceiling of the helicopter from 6,000m to 4,500m so that AgustaWestland could be included in the bids. Tyagi had, however, denied the allegations, saying the decision was taken in consultation with the officials of Special Protection Group and the Prime Minister’s Office....