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VVIP chopper deal: West Bengal Governor quizzed by CBI


M-K-NarayananNew Delhi: In the first-ever questioning of anyone holding Gubernatorial post, CBI today quizzed West Bengal Governor M K Narayanan as a “witness” in connection with its probe into allegations of bribery in the Rs 3600-crore VVIP chopper deal with AgustaWestland.

A CBI team questioned Narayanan at the Raj Bhavan in Kolkata after it had sought time for the same on June 24, agency sources said.

80-year-old Narayanan, who has been prodded to quit as Governor by the new NDA government, recorded his statement and answered questions relating to March one, 2005 meeting in which a decision was taken to reduce “service ceiling” (or the altitude at which a helicopter can fly) from the 6000 metres to 4500 metres.

This is for the first time that a serving Governor has been questioned by CBI.

During the questioning spread well over two hours, Narayanan, who was the former National Security Advisor, explained the rationale behind the decision and also cited that his predecessor in the previous NDA government Brajesh Mishra had decided to lower the service ceiling in December 2003.

Narayanan was appointed as Governor of West Bengal in 2010.

After this, CBI will now examine and record the statement of Goa Governor B V Wanchoo as he was also part of of the meeting in 2005 that allowed key changes in the technical specifications of the chopper. He was the chief of elite Special Protection Group (SPG) guarding the Prime Minister before he was appointed as Governor.

CBI had sought permission to record their statements as part of its probe into alleged Rs 3600-crore bribe paid in the deal that was scrapped by the UPA government in December last year.

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