Web Sify
Follow us on
Mail
Print

Chopper scam: The Tyagi threesome and the claims of middlemen

Source : AGENCIES
Last Updated: Fri, Feb 15, 2013 05:33 hrs
VVIP Chopper Scam: 'Middleman' met Tyagi 6-7 times

Rajiv Tyagi, eldest of three brothers, is a qualified doctor who doesn’t practise. His name crops up as one of the managers of film actor Amitabh Bachchan when he stepped into politics and contested the Allahabad Lok Sabha seat in 1984.

His two brothers and he began liaison work. Rajiv had good relations with Muslim groups in Lucknow and Allahabad. The Bharatiya Janata Party found him useful in engaging with these groups and later found work for him. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s foster son-in-law, Ranjan Bhattacharya recalls him as a person who “used to handle Mr Vajpayee’s constituency, Lucknow.” “I used to run into him once in a while in Lalji Tandon’s (party leader and ex-minister) office when I used to visit Lucknow,” he told Business Standard. “I have nothing to do with him beyond that.”



Yet, in the rumour capital that is Delhi, Rajiv Tyagi was known as a friend of Ranjan Bhattacharya’s, a man who could get things done’. He bought a house in South Delhi’s posh Sainik Farms and later, some say, also on tony West End, presumably through money made through liaison work.

Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office from 2000 to 2004 say they do recall the matter of the purchase of a helicopter for VVIPs coming up in 2002. The Tyagi brothers allegedly intervened through Air Chief Marshal Shashi Tyagi; his name and theirs’ features in the court testimony of Guido Haschke as those who were bribed to swing the deal. “You don’t know Rajiv Tyagi?” exclaimed a Delhi mover and shaker. “Everyone knows him.” He rattled off the names of half a dozen politician-industrialists who have used Tyagi’s unique entrepreneurial talents in the past. Tyagi could not be contacted for a comment.

SP Tyagi used to brief us on tender developments, claim middlemen

The alleged middlemen in the deal for VVIP helicopters have claimed that the then Air chief SP Tyagi used to brief them on the developments in the tender, according to Italian investigators.

Haschke and Gerosa have reportedly claimed that Tyagi would keep them updated on the tender for the 12 helicopters during their meetings, which are believed to have taken place six to seven times.

They have also claimed that they had managed to modify conditions of the tender, including reducing the flight ceiling from 18,000 to 15,000 feet, which made Augusta's AW- 101 eligible for the bid, according to a report filed by investigators in an Italian court.

"(Guido Ralph) Hashcke and (Carlo) Gerosa, through the Tyagi brothers, in turn through their cousin ACM SP Tyagi, managed first to change the tender details, in a way to favour, modifying the "operational ceiling" from 18,000 to 15,000 feet of altitude, thus allowing AgustaWestland spa (which otherwise could not have even submitted an offer) to take part in the tender," the report said.

"They managed to introduce a comparative flight trial with non-functional engine, thus facilitating AgustaWestland helicopters, the only ones which had three engines. In this way they managed to get the contract to AgustaWestland," it alleged.

Tyagi has denied any wrongdoing although he has admitted having met one of the alleged middlemen at the residence of his cousin. According to the investigators, 21 million euros (about Rs 150 crore) were paid as kickbacks under the cover of engineering contracts reportedly through companies IDS Tunisia and IDS India.

Italian firm had kept Rs 217 crore for bribes

Italy's state-controlled AgustaWestland had allegedly kept aside Rs 217 crore as part of "corrupt activity" to bag India's Rs 3,600 crore deal and its choppers became eligible only after certain required parameters were altered in the tender document.

According to the report filed by Italian investigators in an Italian court, the middlemen had agreed for a 7.5 per cent commission in the Rs 3600 crore for 12 VVIP helicopters.

Finally, the kickbacks were to the tune of about Rs 362 crore.

The payment of bribes through contracts between firms registered in Tunisia and India, was "still underway" when the scam was unearthed.

The report said CEO of Finmeccanica Giuseppe Orsi and AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini had paid 30 million Euros (Rs 217 crore) to one of the main middlemen Christian Michel.

"Orsi and Spagnolin, moreover, paid Micheal Christian a total amount of about Euros 30 million, partly destined to support the corruptive activity meant to bag the order and partly to implement the contract," the document said.

The arrested CEOs of the two companies had also "paid Guido Ralph Hashcke and Carlo Gerosa (two other alleged middlemen), through a consultancy contract between AW spa and Gordian Services Sarl an amount of 400,000 Euros (about Rs 2.8 crore), of which 100,000 Euros (Rs 72 lakh) were paid cash to the Tyagi brothers (Julie, Docsa and Sandeep."

The report suggests that the middlemen had close contacts with the family of former IAF Chief Air Chief marshal S P Tyagi, particularly his three cousins.

One middlemen named 'ADR' has claimed in his interrogation that the first meeting of one of the middlemen Zappa with Tyagi happened at the time when the tender was in the Request for Information (RFI) phase.

"Already in the Zappa-ACM Tyagi meeting, one of the topics was the one of the 18,000 feet altitude, which was practically excluding all the competitors, except for the French ones, Eurocopter which anyway did not have a VIP model," ADR said as per the report.

"When the tender was issued, I informed Orsi or Lunardi that the 18,000 feet limit had been lowered. The operational ceiling had been set at 15,000 feet. This had reopened the race for Agusta along with the Russians and the Americans," he added.

The middleman reportedly claimed he had paid around Rs 72 lakhs to the three cousins of ACM Tyagi.

"I remitted the total amount of 100,000 euros (Rs 72 lakhs). There was a previous agreement between us and the Indians to share the compensations for the consultancies at 50 per cent.

"In reality, we shared only the first two portions. The other 200.000 euros were kept by me and GEROSA also on the basis of the real expenses we faced for our travels to India," he said.


blog comments powered by Disqus
most popular on facebook
talking point on sify news