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VVIP chopper deal: ED questions ex-IAF chief’s cousin

Italian chopper scam

Italian chopper scamNew Delhi:  Enforcement Directorate today questioned Sanjeev Tyagi, cousin of former IAF chief S P Tyagi, in connection with its money laundering probe into the Rs 3,600 crore AgustWestland VVIP helicopter deal.

Officials said sleuths recorded the statement of Sanjeev under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) even as he was confronted with documents that have been seized by the agency in this case.

They said Sanjeev alias Julie was interrogated for about 3-4 hours and he was asked questions about his business associations and financial dealings in the past and at present.

Officials said he is expected to be questioned again with regard to some of his personal and professional details and those facts that have emerged in the prosecution dossiers of the Italians.

An alleged middleman involved in this case – Guido Haschke — had claimed that he made payments to Sanjeev alias Julie and other cousins of ex-IAF chief Tyagi to crack the deal of selling AgustaWestland choppers to India.

Sanjeev, while talking to PTI earlier, has said he has already handed over relevant documents of this case to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and CBI and the last payment he got was in 2005 while the tenders for the procurement of 12 helicopters to ferry VVIPs in the country was made in 2007 while the orders were placed in 2010.

“Going by this, I fail to understand how I earned illegal money?,” he had said as he dismissed all the allegations against him.

Agencies probing the case have earlier said that Haschke, who was questioned first by Defence Ministry officials and then by CBI, had told CBI that money was paid to Tyagi brothers for rendering engineering works and meeting other administrative requirements in India.

Arrested in Switzerland in September last year and later extradited to Italy to face trial, Haschke has denied that he had ever met the former IAF Chief or handed over any money to him to clear the VVIP helicopter deal in favour of AgustaWestland.

The ED is probing the case under the criminal provisions of PMLA and it has so far arrested businessman and lawyer Gautam Khaitan in this case.

The agency is in the pursuit to track Rs 400 crore of  alleged bribe money which was purportedly paid as kickbacks for finalising the deal with the said company and later laundering these illicit funds.


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