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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Bengal, Goa governors may be examined by CBI

Rajesh Ahuja , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 13, 2013
First Published: 23:50 IST(13/7/2013) | Last Updated: 09:46 IST(14/7/2013)

The CBI is deliberating examination of two sitting governors — MK Narayanan of West Bengal and BV Wanchoo of Goa — in the AgustaWestland deal, sources told HT.

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The CBI has registered an FIR in AgustaWestland deal under which 12 choppers were to be procured by India. The agency has named former Air Force chief SP Tyagi, his three cousins and nine others along with AgustaWestland and its parent company Finmeccanica as accused in the FIR.

Investigators allege that AgustaWestland paid a bribe of Rs. 362 crore to middlemen to swing the deal in its favour. The Italian prosecutors are also conducting trial of AgustaWestland executives and its parent company Finmeccanica on the charges of paying bribes in the R3,600-crore VVIP chopper deal with India.

Investigators have segregated their probe into three parts — money trail under which bribes were routed to the accused in India, reduction of operational requirement (OR) or the height at which choppers could fly and flight evaluation and trials of AgustaWestland and its competitor Sikorsky. 

“Narayanan was the National Security Advisor and BV Wanchoo was chief of the Special Protection Group in 2005. They participated in meetings that deliberated on the reduction of the OR in order to avoid single vendor situation. The key issue is how the OR was changed from 6,000 meters to 4,500 meters and who all were party to the decision,” said an investigator.

Sources say, in the next few weeks, CBI sleuths will decide whether there was any criminal intent in the decision or not. Only then the decision will be taken to call them for questioning,” said an investigator.

“The Air Force was represented in these meetings by the Deputy Air Chief. The Air Force, for more than a year, was consistently speaking against reduction of the OR. But strangely when the Deputy Air Chief informed the then Air Chief SP Tyagi about it, he endorsed the decision on file in March 2005,” claimed the investigator.

Reduction in the OR allowed AgustaWestland to enter in the fray again.

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