The CBI’s probe into the VVIP AgustaWestland (AW) deal is verifying if foreign remittances allegedly received by former air force chief SP Tyagi in 2009 were bribes paid to him by the choppers’ UK-based maker.
The remittances came to Tyagi, who was grilled by the CBI on Monday, via regular banking channels when he was retired. “The probe has found the inflow of foreign remittances into the account of SP Tyagi and we are verifying its origin and nature,” said a source.
Tyagi, who became the air force chief in January 2005, retired in March 2007. He is suspected to have approved the easing of a key technical requirement on March 14, 2005, that allegedly enabled AW Limited to bag the 2010 deal.
The requirement was related to reducing the service ceiling — optimum flying capacity of a chopper — to 4,500m from 6,000m. It was alleged that Tyagi had received bribes from AW choppers’ maker, AW Limited, via its European and Indian middlemen.
Tyagi received the foreign remittance, whose exact amount was not disclosed, around the time he also went to three Italian cities (Milan, Florence and Venice). The agency is verifying if there was a link between the two events.
Tyagi has allegedly admitted he met Giorgio Zappa, a then-senior official of Finmeccanica, the Italian parent of AW Limited, on February 15, 2005. The meeting happened a month before Tyagi approved the service ceiling’s reduction, which allowed AW Ltd to re-enter the race for the contract.
The agency also questioned two former officials of two accused Indian firms on Monday — Pratap K Aggarwal, the then managing director of IDS Infotech Ltd India, and Praveen Bakshi, the then chief executive officer of Aeromatrix Info Solutions Pvt Ltd.