The CBI on Friday recorded the statement of Goa Governor B.V. Wanchoo as a “witness” in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal scam. File photo
The Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday recorded “witness” statement of Goa Governor B.V. Wanchoo in the 3,700-crore VVIP chopper deal case.
“Mr. Wanchoo’s statement is being recorded by a team in Goa,” said a senior CBI official. The Goa Governor, in the capacity of Special Protection Group chief, was part of a crucial meeting in 2005 during which tender specifications for procurement of the helicopters were allegedly changed, which ultimately allowed AgustaWestland to clinch the deal.
A few days ago, the CBI had recorded the witness statement of former National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan for the same reason, after which he resigned as the West Bengal Governor. There are indications that Mr. Wanchoo would follow suit.
In the ongoing trial against former top functionaries of AgustaWestland and its parent company Finmecannica in an Italy court on the same issue, prosecutors have sought six-year imprisonment for former Finmeccanica chief executive officer Giuseppe Orsi and five years of jail term for former AgustaWestland chief Bruno Spagnolini.
According to the CBI, AgustaWestland had illegally hired middlemen and paid bribes in the form of engineering contracts through two India-based companies, to bag the deal for supply of 12 AW101 helicopters.
It is alleged that as part of the conspiracy, during the tenure of former Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi, a relaxation in the service ceiling of helicopters from 6,000 to 4,500 metres was granted, opening doors for AgustaWestland to big for the contract.
Based on the findings, the agency in March last year registered a case under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code against the retired Indian Air Force chief, his three cousins and suspected middlemen, besides the companies purportedly involved.