New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday filed supplementary chargesheet against former IAF chief SP Tyagi and 33 others in connection with the AgustaWestland VVIP helicopters bribery scam.
The others who are named in the prosecution complaint include Tyagi’s cousin, lawyer Gautam Khaitan, Italian middlemen Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke, and Finmeccanica, the parent company of AgustaWestland.
The court was hearing a money laundering case connected with the Rs 3,600-crore VVIP chopper deal.
The ED, in its charge sheet, accused them of laundering over Rs 220 crore, saying various foreign currencies were used as fronts to park the alleged kickbacks. It also said that the kickbacks were paid by AgustaWestland through two different channels.
One channel was handled by middleman Christian Michel James and the other by Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke.
How was the money laundered?
Gerosa and Haschke, in collusion with the Tyagi Brothers, conspired with Gautam Khaitan of M/s OP Khaitan & Co, Auditors and Solicitors based in New Delhi to launder the money.
Khaitan, the mastermind behind laundering the proceeds of crime in the present case, was known to Gerosa, Haschke and Tyagi brothers. He prepared a corporate structure of companies and got several legal entities incorporated across the globe. Thereafter, the proceeds of crime were laundered through various companies in Tunisia, Mauritius, India, BVI, Singapore, Switzerland, Dubai, etc.
Companies related to Gerosa and Haschke were also found involved in laundering the proceeds of crime related to VVIP helicopters deal by M/s. AgustaWestland.
Khaitan also received proceeds of the crime in personal bank accounts opened in his name and the accounts of his companies in India and abroad, namely M/s Windsor Holding Group Ltd., M/s Ismax International Ltd and M/s O.P Khaitan & Co.
Further, his associate Rajiv Saxena, an NRI based in Dubai and Director & Shareholder of M/s Interstellar Technologies Ltd, Mauritius, also transferred proceeds of the crime from M/s Interstellar to his Dubai-based companies M/s UHY Saxena and M/s Matrix Holdings Limited. M/s Interstellar Technologies Ltd, Mauritius, is one of the main fronts used for laundering money in the said case.
Saxena, in collusion with Khaitan, was also instrumental in incorporating various companies which were used in laundering the proceeds of the crime in Dubai.
Gerosa and Haschke advanced huge amounts of tainted money to the Tyagi Brothers in the guise of sham consultancy agreements in return of favours given to AgustaWestland in the procurement of the contract for VVIP Helicopters. The Tyagi Brothers incorporated various entities for receiving kickbacks, namely Krishneel, Krishnayan, Tyagi Ishan, Krishnom, etc. SP Tyagi was fifty percent partner in one of these concerns, namely Krishnom.
Enforcement Directorate had earlier attached properties worth Rs 10 crore and freezed shares worth more than Rs 150 crore belonging to Tyagi Brothers, Gautam Khaitan, Carlo Gerosa, Guido Haschke, Christian Michel James and Rajiv Saxena.
Enforcement Directorate is likely to file more supplementary complaint in the matter.
The AgustaWestland scam
The AgustaWestland helicopter deal, which had snowballed into a huge controversy, is related to an agreement signed in 2010 to buy 12 helicopters from the Italian firm. The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government was in power at the time. The deal was put on hold after Italy arrested the head of Finmeccanica.
On December 9, 2016, the CBI had arrested Tyagi and two others for allegedly accepting kickbacks to influence the purchase of the 12 VVIP helicopters. The CBI had said the deal was worth Rs 3,767 crore, of which 12% was paid in bribes. Tyagi was granted bail on December 26, while the others got it on January 4, 2017.
In May 2016, the CBI had said two “suspicious” payments were made to accounts held by the former Air Force chief. The agency also learnt that Tyagi was an owner or shareholder in at least five different companies. He retired from his post in the Air Force in 2007.