Agusta probe: ED seeks info from Def Min and IT Deptt

RSTV Bureau
New Delhi: A file photo of AgustaWestland (AW101) VVIP Airforce Helicopter. Photo - PTI

New Delhi: A file photo of AgustaWestland (AW101) VVIP Airforce Helicopter.
Photo – PTI

Furthering its probe in the alleged kickbacks received in the snapped VVIP chopper deal, the Enforcement Directorate have sought information from Union Defense ministry, along with Income Tax department and Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). The issue has already snowballed into political slugfest between the ruling BJP and opposition Congress party.

Targeting Congress party, Union Defence minister Manohar Parrikar had on Wednesday raised fingers at the pace of probe in previous regime.

According to the reports, the agency has sought property details on ten serving and retired officials of the Ministry of Defence and the Indian Air Force who had handled the procurement process of the AgustaWestland choppers at some point of their service.

It has also sought details from the IT department and the Department of Revenue’s Financial Intelligence Unit to provide details of personal finances, transactions and investments made by some people suspected to have some connection to the case.

FILE: New Delhi: Former Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi arriving at the CBI headquarters in New Delhi on Monday, May 2, 2016 in connection with the alleged corruption in the 3,600 crore AgustaWestland choppers deal.  Photo: PTI

FILE: New Delhi: Former Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi arriving at the CBI headquarters in New Delhi on Monday, May 2, 2016 in connection with the alleged corruption in the 3,600 crore AgustaWestland choppers deal.
Photo: PTI

There are also reports that ED investigators have made some analysis of the probable identity of certain code names that has surfaced ever since Italian court order last week.

References have been made in the light of a hand written note by the alleged middlemen in AgustaWestland case, a document also brought on record by a Milan court which had sentenced Italian defence and aerospace major Finmeccanica’s former chief Giuseppe Orsi and the former CEO of the firm Bruno Spagnolini on corruption charges in the sale of a dozen AgustaWestland helicopters to India for VVIP purposes.

Widening its probe in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal, the ED has also begun a trail of “cash” which is suspected to have been paid as alleged kickbacks for the purchase of these helicopters from UK-based AgustaWestland.

The ED, in its charge sheet filed last year in a court, had claimed to have detected flow of alleged kickbacks sent from abroad to companies of the accused Gautam Khaitan and cousin brothers of the former IAF chief.

Former Air Force chief SP Tyagi had already been questioned by the CBI in connection with the AgustaWestland controversy.

(With inputs from the PTI)