New Delhi, Sep 19, 2020-
The Central Bureau of Investigation on Saturday filed a supplementary charge sheet against 15 accused, including alleged middleman Christian Michel and accused-turned-approver Rajiv Saxena, in connection with the alleged corruption in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal.
The CBI alleged that British national and middleman James paid Rs 90 lakh as consultant fee to K.V. Kunhikrishnan, former GM, Westland Support Services Ltd as consultant fee.
The second charge sheet was filed on Friday and doesn’t name any politician or senior bureaucrat so far. The first charge sheet in the case was filed in September 2017 naming former IAF chief SP Tyagi and others.
The CBI filed the supplementary charge sheet in a Delhi court on Friday against Sandeep Tyagi, Praveen Bakshi, Partap Krishan Aggarwal, the then Managing Director of IDS Infotech Ltd., India, Narendra Kumar Jain, Rajesh Kumar Jain of Kolkata, Sunil Kothari, the then Managing Director of OM Metals Infotech Pvt. Ltd., Kunhikrishnan, a close associate of James.
The CBI has also named Saxena, then Director of Interstellar Technologies Ltd, Mauritius, Giacomino Saponaro, then Managing Director of AgustaWestland International Ltd., Deepak Goyal, an official of Gautam Khaitan, IDS Infotech Ltd., Mohali/Chandigarh, (through its Managing Director P.K. Aggarwal), Aeromatrix Info Solutions Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi (through its Director Gautam Khaitan), Neel Madhav Consultants Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi (through its Director Sandeep Tyagi), Mainak Agency Pvt. Ltd., earlier at Kolkata, now in New Delhi (through its Directors Sandeep Tyagi and Sanjeev Tyagi and Interstellar Technologies Ltd, Mauritius (through its Director Rajiv Saxena).
In the charge sheet, the CBI alleged that Kunhikrishnan was paid about Rs 90 lakh as consultant fee by Michel, who is currently lodged in Tihar jail after he was deported from UAE in December 2018.
The CBI alleged that Kunhikrishnan received documents and information related to the ongoing subject of procurement (12 VVIP chopper deal), which were supplied to AgustaWestland officials — Saponaro.
The CBI also said that during further investigation it was found that Sanjeev Tyagi and Sandeep Tyagi (both cousins of SP Tyagi) through Neel Madhav Consultants Pvt Ltd acquired Mainak Agency Pvt Ltd at Kolkata in 2009 to launder illicit kickbacks/ill-gotten money and received approximately Rs 5 crore through banking channels in collusion with N.K. Jain, R.K. Jain and Kothari, who created shell companies and opened fake accounts in different banks for returning such kickbacks.
It was further alleged that in pursuance of conspiracy, the other accused — Agarwal, Bakshi, Saxena — through their companies had facilitated in transferring/routing the kickbacks/bribe paid by AgustaWestland at UK.
Saxena was brought from Dubai in January 2019 and made an approver by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the VVIP chopper deal case but the financial probe agency later sought revocation of this status saying he misled the investigators.
ED claimed that Saxena is a ‘hawala operator’ and accommodation entry provider who runs the accommodation entry business in Dubai through numerous companies known as Matrix Group companies and has laundered proceeds of crime in the cases of AgustaWestland scam.
The CBI alleged that Goyal allegedly prepared fake invoices and sent mails for transferring the said kickbacks through IDS Infotech Ltd, Interstellar Technologies Mauritius and other companies. The CBI has recovered copies of documents and details during the probe. The case pertains to the purchase of 12 AgustaWestland helicopters built by Italian defence manufacturing giant Finmeccanica (now known as the group) at an estimated cost of Rs 3,600 crore for ferrying VVIPs.
In the deal, bribes were allegedly paid to middlemen and others. The purchase was cleared in 2010 by the then UPA government.
On January 1, 2014, India cancelled the contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF, over alleged breach of contractual obligations and on charges of paying kickbacks amounting to Rs 423 crore.
The CBI had earlier filed a charge sheet in this case on September 1, 2017 against then Air Chief Marshal Tyagi and 11 other accused.
In its first charge sheet, CBI had established “money trail” of 62 million euros (around Rs 415 crore) out of suspected 67 million euros (Rs 452 crore) total bribe paid to Indians through middlemen. (Agency)