Investigating agencies are still clueless on ex-IAF chief SP Tyagi’s links to kickbacks in
the AgustaWestland scam. Tyagi was questioned for almost 60 hours in six days by the
Enforcement Directorate and the CBI.
According to the sources, both the CBI and ED have scrutinised and scanned through the financial transactions made by his five companies, namely, Meghanu Realtors, Anuras Properties, Vanshi, Shavan Enterprises, and Krishnom – but they have not found anything incriminating. Over the past two weeks, the CBI has questioned Tyagi for four days, and the ED questioned him for two. Despite long hours of interrogation, the agency seems to have gotten nowhere in establishing that Tyagi enjoyed kickbacks.
We have asked SP Tyagi to share details of his bank accounts. So far, we haven’t found any link with the kickbacks but investigation is going on.Senior Official, ED
It seems that the agencies are working more under political pressure than on the basis of any fresh leads, as the investigators haven’t made much progress from where they were a year and a half ago.
What’s the Evidence So Far?
CBI claims that former IAF Chief Tyagi has admitted to having met Chief Operating Officer, George Zapa of Finmeccanica, the parent company of AgustaWestland (AW) while the negotiations for the purchase of VVIP choppers were ongoing. The meeting happened in February 2005.
In March 2005, changes were made in the specifications of the helicopter – such as the lowering of height ceiling, which allegedly helped AgustaWestland in getting the contract.
After retirement, Tyagi made a trip to Florence, Venice, and Milan in Italy. Sleuths are investigating who had accompanied him on the trip and who sponsored it.
SP Tyagi started five companies during 2011-12 in his and his wife’s name.
The court order also says that the companies owned by alleged middlemen Christian Michel ‘promised and effectively paid’ via the brothers Julie, Doscs and Sandeep Tyagi a sum of money as kickbacks.
ED Takes Lessons from Stalled UK Extradition Request
The ED is likely to write to the UAE government, requesting them to extradite Christian Michel whose name is mentioned in the AgustaWestland deal chargesheet. India got a red corner notice issued against Michel in December 2015.
Earlier, the agency wrote to the UK government requesting Michel’s extradition. According to sources, the UK government has recently written back to the ED finding flaws in the request because it doesn’t mention Michel’s location. The UK letter also points to several other flaws and have raised further queries.
ED sources said the agency would now try to confirm his location in Dubai independently before sending the request to the UAE government.
According to investigators, Michel is among the key accused in the AgustaWestland chopper deal case. The probe so far has pointed to Michel’s companies receiving around 42 million Euroes to facilitate the deal. A portion of this money was distributed as bribes.