NEW DELHI (TIP): The Enforcement Directorate, in its money laundering probe in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland scam, has identified properties of about Rs 3 crore belonging to cousins of former Indian Air Force chief SP Tyagi. These assets, bought with the proceeds of crime, according to top sources, will be attached in the next few weeks.
This comes as a major setback for S P Tyagi, who had allegedly changed the specifications of VVIP choppers to favour AgustaWestland. It was alleged that bribe money was received by his cousins – Sanjeev alias Julie, Rajeev alias Docsa and Sandeep Tyagi, from European middlemen.
The attachment of properties is significant when ED is also planning to call S P Tyagi for questioning in the case. A senior official said, “We will examine him very soon”.
CBI’s FIR in the case, which also became the basis for a money laundering probe by ED, had alleged that close to 36 million euros had come to Indian companies and Tyagi cousins at different intervals in the garb of ‘consultancy’ and ‘engineering’ contracts.
It was alleged that during the tenure of Air Chief Marshal S P Tyagi and “with his approval” the IAF “conceded to reduce the service ceiling for VVIP helicopters from 6,000 meters to 4,500 metres, a height it had earlier opposed vehemently on the grounds of it being a security constraint and other related reasons.” The reduction of service ceiling – maximum height at which a helicopter can perform normally – allowed UK-based AgustaWestland to enter the fray. Otherwise, its helicopters were not even qualified for submission of bids.
Further, it alleged that middleman Haschke through his Tunisia-based company Gordian Services Sarl entered into several consultancy contracts with AgustaWestland from 2004-05 onwards, and “almost on back-to-back basis he also made consultancy contracts with the Tyagi brothers (Tyagi’s cousins),”. Under the cover of these contracts, Haschke allegedly sent first 1.26 lakh euros and then another two lakh euros to Tyagi brothers. “Besides these two remittances, Tyagi brothers also received some unquantified sum of money from the middlemen (Haschke and Gerosa). The inflow of remittances to Tyagi brothers and softening of IAF’s stand on service ceiling of the helicopter closely match in terms of time,” officials claimed.
“Tyagi brothers claimed that they got this money as part of consultancy fee for a subsidiary of AgustaWestland and for another payment they claimed it was for engineering contract but their replies were not satisfactory during questioning and they couldn’t justify it,” said an official. According to FIR, “Haschke and Gerosa managed to send 5.6 million euro through Mohali-based IDS Infotech and Chandigarh-based Aeromatric Info Solutions to India and kept remaining amount out of about 24.30 million euro received from AgustaWestland with them in the account of IDS Tunisia”. “A portion of this amount was sent to India through Mauritius and hawala route in order to pay kickbacks in India for swinging the VVIP helicopter deal in favour of AgustaWestland,” the CBI FIR had alleged.