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ED files charge sheet in AgustaWestland chopper scam case

india Updated: Jul 18, 2018 22:59 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
AgustaWestland,VVIP chopper scam,Chopper scam

A file photo of an AgustaWestland helicopter.(HT Photo)

The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday filed a second supplementary charge sheet (and third in all) against former AgustaWestland and its parent Finmeccanica’s directors Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini and former IAF chief S P Tyagi and others for alleged money laundering in the VVIP helicopter scam.

The chargesheet filed in a Delhi court has named 34 Indian and foreign individuals and companies as accused, including Tyagi and his cousins, Italian middlemen Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke, lawyer Gautam Khaitan and Finmeccanica, of laundering money to the tune of around 28 million Euro.

“ED’s investigation revealed that the kickbacks were paid by AgustaWestland for bagging the VVIP chopper deal in India through two different channels. One channel was handled by middleman Christian Michel James and the other channel was handled by Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke,” said an ED official. This charge sheet deals with the channel handled by Gerosa and Haschke, the official added on condition of anonymity. Meanwhile, media reports claimed Michel was detained in Duabi last week and that ED and CBI are trying to have him extradited to India. HT couldn’t independently verify this.

The chargesheet alleges that lawyer Gautam Khaitan was the mastermind behind laundering the bribe money. He knew the Italian middlemen Carlo Gerosa, Guido Haschke and also the Tyagi Brothers. Khaitan created a corporate structure of companies and got incorporated several legal entities across the globe to launder the money.

“...the proceeds of crime were laundered through various companies in Tunisia, Mauritius, India, BVI, Singapore, Switzerland, Dubai etc.,” the chargesheet said.

On January 1, 2014, India scrapped 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 charges of kickbacks of Rs 423 crore paid by it to secure the deal.

“Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke advanced huge amounts of tainted money to the Tyagi Brothers in the guise of sham consultancy agreements in return of favours given to AgustaWestland in the procurement of the contract for VVIP Helicopters. The Tyagi brothers incorporated various entities for receiving kickbacks, namely Krishneel, Krishnayan, Tyagi Ishan, Krishnom, etc.,” the chargesheet said.

“S P Tyagi was 50% partner in one of these concerns, namely Krishnom,” the chargesheet added. The chargesheet alleges that Khaitan received kickbacks in his personal bank accounts and accounts of his creates companies in India and abroad. He was helped by his associate Rajiv Saxena, an NRI based in Dubai to layer the transactions by channelling the bribe money through various tax havens including Mauritius.

The chargesheet will be taken up in the special court of Judge Arvind Kumar for further action on July 20.

First Published: Jul 18, 2018 22:59 IST