VVIP chopper deal: Andhra Pradesh Governor ESL Narasimhan Examined by CBI

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VVIP chopper deal: Andhra Pradesh Governor ESL Narasimhan Examined by CBI
Hyderabad:  Andhra Pradesh governor and former Intelligence Bureau (IB) Director E S L Narasimhan was today examined by the Central Bureau of Investigation, or the CBI, as a witness  in connection with the alleged misappropriation of funds in the purchase of a dozen VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland, the Anglo Italian defence major.

Mr Narasimhan is also the Governor of Telangana, India's newest state. He becomes the third Governor to be questioned as a witness by the CBI in the VVIP helicopter bribery case. The investigating agency had earlier recorded the statements of West Bengal governor M K Narayanan and his Goa counterpart B V Wanchoo. The two Governors, who had been appointed by the previous UPA government, stepped down from their posts soon after.

It is likely that Mr Narasimhan will follow in their foot-steps, and resign from his post. He was questioned for a lesser duration than other two whose interrogation continued through the day.

CBI sources point out that Mr Narasimhan attended a crucial meeting on March 1, 2005, which allegedly took a decision on changing the technical specifications for the acquisition of the 12 VVIP helicopters, apparently to facilitate the entry of AgustaWestland in the race. Mr Narasimhan was the IB Director then.

Among those who attended the meeting included Mr Narayanan, who held the post of the National Security Advisor, and Mr Wanchoo, who was then the chief of the Special Protection Group (SPG), the elite commado force which shields the prime minister, former prime ministers and their families.  

If Mr Narasimhan decides to take the route adopted by his West Bengal and Goa counterparts, there will be at least eight vacancies in Raj Bhawans across the country. The Governors of Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Nagaland, besides those of West Bengal and Goa, had resigned earlier. The tenures of Karnataka and Haryana governors came to an end last month.

There are indications that Mizoram governor Vakkom Purushothaman, who was transferred to the Nagaland Raj Bhawan on Monday, may put in his papers soon.



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