Wrap-up: Blast from the past

BJP asked its vice-president Rahul Gandhi to disclose as to which politician in the UPA government received bribe in the controversial deal.

In a sudden and first of its kind action, the CBI on Friday arrested former Air Force Chief S.P. Tyagi, his cousin Sanjeev, and a lawyer in the sensational Rs 450 crore bribery case in the procurement of 12 VVIP helicopters from UK-based AgustaWestland during the UPA-II government. More about it:

What is Tyagi accused of
The CBI alleged that in 2005, Tyagi had agreed to change the long-held stand of the Indian Air Force that minimum operational ceiling of the VVIP helicopters should be 6,000 metres. Tyagi allegedly influenced the decision to reduce it to 4,500 metres which brought AgustaWestland into the running for the deal when its choppers were not even qualified for submission of bids,

What is Tyagi’s refrain?
Air Chief Marshal Tyagi had said the change of specification, was a collective decision in which senior officers of Indian Air Force, SPG and other departments were involved.

What is CBI’s argument
The CBI had claimed that Chandigarh-based lawyer Gautam Khaitan, accepted having taken money from European middlemen Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa but insisted it was not kickbacks to influence the deal. Tyagi, 71, who retired in 2007, was called for questioning at the CBI Headquarters along with his cousin and lawyer Gautam Khaitan, who were taken into custody after nearly four hours of grilling.

First of its kind arrest
These are the first arrests in the case by the CBI which came three years after it registered an FIR in 2013 to probe the allegations in the aftermath of the details of the scam emerging in Italy where the prosecutors levelled allegations of corruption in the deal against the chief of Finmeccanica, the parent company of AgustaWestland.

The fallout of the scam
On January 1, 2014, India scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over alleged breach of contractual obligations and an Italian court mentioned about payment of kickbacks of Rs 450 crore by it for securing the deal.

First conviction in italian court
On April 7, an Italian court had convicted two top executives of defence major Finmeccanica (AgustaWestland is its subsidiary) for paying kickbacks in the deal.

Current status of the deal
India received three of the helicopters and stopped delivery of the remaining nine. Defense ministry said the agreement was terminated because an integrity pact was breached by AW.

Politics continues
Attacking the Congress over the scam, BJP asked its vice-president Rahul Gandhi to disclose as to which politician in the UPA government received bribe in the controversial deal. “It has been established that commission was paid in the deal. Rahul Gandhi speaks on all matters under the sun. He should now make it clear who in the UPA government received the bribe,” BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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