VVIP chopper scam: Indian officials refused to question alleged middleman, say sources

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VVIP chopper scam: Indian officials refused to question alleged middleman, say sources
Rome:  An Italian court yesterday allowed Indian authorities to question alleged middleman Guido Hashcke in the chopper scam case. However, sources have told NDTV that a team from the Ministry of Defence refused to question him. The reason behind their refusal is not known yet.

Mr Haschke is giving his statement to the court in Milan on his role in the chopper scam and a team of Indian officials present there was given an opportunity to question him, sources said.

According to reports from Italy, Mr Haschke has claimed that 6 million euros were paid to air force officials and 8.4 million euros to the bureaucracy. He claimed that politicians were also paid.

The reports said that the money was part of draft budget prepared by the middlemen on a paper for the deal in which air force has been written as 'AF' and politicians have been referred to as 'pol'.

In the last hearing, Mr Haschke had said that he had met former Indian Air Force chief SP Tyagi six to seven times while recounting his role in the scandal. He said that there was a plan to divide a commission of 7 per cent of the worth of the deal with the three Tyagi brothers, cousins of then Air chief SP Tyagi.

The alleged middleman also recounted the various meetings at multiple locations between him and his accomplices in the whole episode in Rome and Dubai.

In the hearing, the crucial middleman, who was recently arrested by Italian authorities after being extradited by Swiss authorities, had said he had kept aside seven per cent of the deal as his share and for paying the three Tyagi cousins.

He said the 50 per cent of the total money was to be paid to the other middleman Christian Michel and the money to be paid was to be routed through the engineering services contract as part of the deal.

The Defence Ministry is expected to scrap the deal for the 12 VVIP choppers after it found that the Anglo-Italian firm violated the pre-contract integrity pact with India. AgustaWestland and the Tyagi brothers have denied any wrongdoing on their behalf in the deal worth Rs 3,600 crore.


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