CBI today questioned former IAF Chief S P Tyagi and examined lawyer Gautam Khaitan for the first time after an Italian court held that bribes were paid to clinch the Rs 3600 crore VVIP Helicopter deal. CBI sources said both arrived at the agency headquarters this morning to appear before the investigation team.
While Tyagi is being questioned for the third consecutive day today, Khaitan is appearing for the first time after Milan Court of Appeals order in Italy which claimed bribes were paid to get the lucrative deal.
Khaitan who is an advocate and a former Board member of company Aeromatrix which was allegedly used to route bribe amount is named in the CBI FIR an one of the accused. The focus of the questioning is his alleged links with Italian middlemen—Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschkhe, CBI sources said.
CBI had registered a case against Tyagi along with 13 others including his cousins and European middlemen. The allegation against the former Air Chief was that he reduced flying ceiling of the helicopter from 6,000m to 4,500m (15,000ft) which put AgustaWestland helicopters in the race for the deal without which its choppers were not even qualified for submission of bids.
Tyagi has denied allegations against him and said that the change of specifications, which brought AgustaWestland into contention, was a collective decision in which senior officers of Indian Air Force, SPG, NSA and other departments were involved.