Have evidence against Tyagi: Italy

Last Updated: Tue, Feb 19, 2013 06:10 hrs

New Delhi: The Italian prosecutors, who named former Air Force chief SP Tyagi as a part of the alleged payment of kickbacks in the Rs 3,600 crore purchase deal of VVIP choppers by India from AugustaWestland, the Anglo-Italian helicopter company owned by Italy's Finmeccanica, said they have enough evidence against Tyagi for framing the charges.

"We cannot get into specifics but all I can tell you is that we have all the evidence to nail Shashi Tyagi. This includes wire taps,'' the prosecutors' source told NDTV.

There are allegations of kickbacks worth 50 million euros in the scam, according to media reports.

A joint Indian investigating team of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Ministry of Defence (MoD) is likely to meet the Italian prosecutors on Tuesday.

The report by the investigators said that an alleged middleman for helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland was seen touching the feet of former Air Force chief SP Tyagi.

The scandal allegedly took place during the tenure of Tyagi who headed the air force from 2004 to 2007.

Tyagi has however, denied the allegations and has said that he met one of the alleged AgustaWestland middlemen just once contrary to the charges of "six or seven" meetings.

The middleman Ralph Haschke has "confessed" that he met Tyagi six or seven times and once greeted him by touching his feet as a sign of respect, the Italian prosecutors have said.

The Italian inquiry has also found that in 2003, a serving Brigadier of the Indian Army allegedly demanded $5 million dollars to influence a contract for 197 light helicopters in favour of AgustaWestland.

Italian police arrested Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of state-controlled Italian defence and aerospace giant Finmeccanica Giuseppe Orsi in Rome for alleged bribes paid in order to secure the deal.

Speaking to NDTV, the prosecution sources in Italy also said that "for now, no other Indians apart from the Tyagis" have been implicated. There is also so far "no evidence of any Indian politicians being involved," they said. However, they clarified that the probe was still on and more names could emerge.

Meanwhile, in an interview to CNN IBN channel SP Tyagi's cousin Sanjeev Tyagi, whose name has been dragged in the defence scam, has trashed allegations outright.

Referred to as Julie Tyagi by Italian investigators, he told the channel that "allegations against him and his cousin SP Tyagi were baseless and had maligned the image of their families."

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