The recent questioning of governors in the purchase of AgustaWestland helicopters has brought to notice the curious fact that CBI’s number 2, special director AK Sinha was reportedly one of those who attended a key meeting in the Prime Minister’s office before the tender was cleared. Perhaps to avoid any embarrassment the CBI is now refusing to register his testimony as a witness.
Mr. Sinha was Inspector General in the Special Protection Group or the SPG, which protects the Prime Minister, former Prime Ministers and their families.
“Why should we examine Mr. Sinha? Just because he attended one meeting which he was deputed to attend in absence of the Director, he didn’t play a vital role,” said the CBI spokesperson. But others point out that while Anil Sinha’s role is innocuous, the CBI did examine another SPG officer N Ramachandra who was also deputed to attend the 2003 meeting.
Mr. Sinha refused to comment when contacted him.
The meeting, which Mr. Sinha attended, was called for by the Prime Minister’s Office in 2004. Former SPG chief BV Wanchoo reportedly notes in his statement how he had to be on tour and deputed Anil Sinha to attend the meeting on his behalf. Mr. Wanchoo resigned as Goa Governor earlier this month, hours after he was questioned by the CBI.
In his deposition to the CBI, Mr. Wanchoo reportedly said how before that meeting the Air Force reinforced their position that any new choppers that are obtained for VVIPs should be able to climb to 6000-metres altitude. This specification, the CBI says, was reduced to 4500 metres after Mr. Wanchoo and the then National Security Advisor MK Narayanan had a meeting in 2005. Mr. Narayanan also resigned as West Bengal Governor on June 30 after he was questioned in this case.