Tyagi, who headed the Air Force between 2004 and 2007, has been accused by investigators in Italy and India of abusing his official position to swing the contract in favour of Finnmeccanica, the parent company of UK-based helicopter maker AgustaWestland, by tailoring specifications of the tender at the instance of his cousins.
The whole episode raises two important points — the record of the CBI in presenting a strong case in matters relating to defence procurements and the very procedure of procuring defence equipments, including the role of lobbying. Second most important question, is this arrest politically motivated to divert the attention from current issues of demonetization? As we all know, so far to say the least no one remember a single case that the CBI has solved in this regard. Each time the case was sent in cold storage.
Earlier, an alleged middleman who India is desperate to question for the corrupt AgustaWestland deal has confirmed to a News channel that in 2008, he did describe Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in a letter as “the driving force” of the decision to acquire new helicopters for use by top politicians when her party was last in power. However, Christian Michel James, who is based in Dubai, also said that he does not personally know either Mrs Gandhi or her son, Rahul, who is the Congress vice-president, and stressed that his written suggestion that they be lobbied by diplomats does not mean bribes were paid to them.
A Milan court earlier sentenced the former bosses of Finmeccanica and its AgustaWestland unit to jail terms for corruption in the India deal. Documents it referred to included letters from middlemen that mentioned Mrs Gandhi and other Congress leaders as people to pursue or influence to land the deal. The CBI and the Enforcement Directorate, which tackles financial crimes, are trying to piece together who was bribed in India for the helicopter scam. In Parliament, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said the Congress’ misdoings stand exposed. Congress lawmakers walked out in protest, demanding that the Supreme Court monitor the investigation into the helicopter deal, which was signed in 2010 and cancelled in 2014.
But the middle man Michel said that he stands by his earlier claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year met with his Italian counterpart in New York, and offered to release two Italian marines imprisoned in India on murder charges in exchange for information about the Agusta deal that could embarrass or implicate Mrs Gandhi. In denying that its top bosses are linked to the Agusta scam, the Congress had questioned the authenticity of the note Mr Michel verified. Other letters of imprisoned executives from Agusta, an Anglo-Italian firm, also name-check Mrs Gandhi and top Congress leaders; the papers were reviewed by a Milan court which has found Agusta guilty of paying bribes in India. The verdict – delivered a few weeks ago – has given the BJP considerable ammo in resuscitating the Agusta scandal as a national controversy and alleging new proof of the complicity of the Congress’ top bosses in the helicopter swindle.
The order, worth 3,600 crores, was cancelled in 2014 after the Italian investigation ramped up. Mr Michel has over the last few months repeatedly claimed that when Mr Modi was in New York for a UN summit, he met on the sidelines with the Italian premier to solicit details gleaned from the Italian investigation that could be used against Mrs Gandhi.
BJP had appointed Meenakshi Lekhi to lead the attack against Congress in Lok Sabh. From social network to Rajya Sabha BJP randomly attacking Congress and it president but interestingly, the united Congress including Manmohan Singh came in defence of Gandhi’s and took aggressive stand against BJP. Meanwhile, his claim that Modi offered to exchange marines against evidence to shame Gandhi’s, that indicate that Modi is least interested in justice to those dead fishermen, but only interested in shaming the Gandhi’s?
If the statement about meeting in New York is not to be taken seriously then so does his other statements, but his one statement is not taken serious then it’s better to ignore other claim. The middle man brought BJP and Congress into great fix, and now Mr Tyagi is caught by CBI, it would be really interesting to see how the politics move on to this.