Former air chief's kin denies kickback allegations in chopper deal

Last Updated: Sat, Feb 16, 2013 20:37 hrs

New Delhi: Sanjeev alias Julie Tyagi, the cousin of former Indian Air Force (IAF) chief S.P. Tyagi Saturday termed as "hundred percent wrong and baseless" allegations of his family's involvement in kickbacks in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal.

In an interview to CNN-IBN, Tyagi denied he was hiding and termed as baseless allegations that the three Tyagi brothers - Julie, Docsa and Sandeep - had received kickbacks of around Rs.72 lakh from middlemen to swing the deal.

"It is hundred percent wrong, baseless... Me and my family have nothing to do with AgustaWestland deal... It is totally wrong, malicious," he told the news channel, and said he had never spoken to his cousin S.P. Tyagi in the matter.

He denied having any knowledge of defence matters. "I have never dabbled in any defence activities," Julie Tyagi said, adding he was working in the power infrastructure sector.

On Friday, the government put on hold the $750 million/Rs.3,600 crore deal for 12 AgustaWestland 101 choppers and launched the process to cancel the deal with Italian firm Finmeccanica. The government has also issued a show cause notice to Britain-based AgustWestland asking why the contract should not be scrapped in view of the corruption allegations.

Julie Tyagi said he knew Carlo Gerosa, an alleged middleman involved in the kickbacks, from 1995 in connection with dealings in the power infrastructure sector.

Stressing he had no dealings with IDS India and IDS Tunisia, two firms through which the payments were allegedly routed, he said he was "painfully surprised why our family name is being maligned like this".

He also alleged that middleman Guido Haschke was lying about payment of kickbacks and added, "Haschke used my name to siphon off money".

He also denied he knew former prime minister A.B. Vajpayee's son-in-law Ranjan Bhattacharjee or had any dealings with Gautam Khaitan, a former director at Aeromatrix, another firm allegedly involved in the kickbacks.

"I have nothing to with AgustaWestland, I have no clue about the deal." Julie Tyagi said.

He said he had never spoken with his cousin, the former air chief, about this deal and said his family "shared a strained relationship with my cousin".

He said he welcomed a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the deal.

"Finmeccanica is covering up its own," he said.

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