The CBI on Saturday questioned former deputy air force chief JS Gujral over his participation in a 2005 meeting where a key technical specification was tweaked that allegedly enabled UK firm AgustaWestland (AW) to bag a deal with India in 2010.
Air marshal (retired) Gujral, who was responsible for procurements, was questioned for nine hours at the agency’s headquarters and has been called again.
He was asked about the circumstances under which the March 1, 2005, meeting was convened by then National Security Advisor and the rationale behind reducing the “service ceiling of 6,000m to 4,500m”, said a CBI source.
Service ceiling is the optimum height at which a chopper can fly.
The alteration allegedly helped AW bag the contract even after its chopper was disqualified by the air force in 2002 as it could only fly at 4,500m. Its subsequent plea for a re-consideration was also rejected.
“Gujral attended the March 2005 NSA meeting and was asked for information and clarifications related to the earlier meeting,” said the source.
Sources said Gujral “cooperated” and clarified on the role played by those in the decision-making chain, including air chief marshal SP Tyagi (retd).
The CBI is assessing Gujral’s role and whether his testimony could be treated as a witness account. Sleuths are also analysing the records to decide the charges to be pressed against the accused named in the FIR, including former IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi (retd), and his three cousins.
The agency has also summoned Tyagi for re-examination on Monday over allegations that he received bribe from AW, via his three cousins, to help reduce the service ceiling.