VVIP Chopper Scam: CBI Files Chargesheet Against Former Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma

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New Delhi: Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday has filed a supplementary charge sheet against former CAG and former Defense Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma and several retired Air Force officers in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case, as quoted by news agency PTI.

According to sources, CBI has got sanction for prosecution against Shashi Kant Sharma. The CBI had sought sanction to prosecute Sharma for alleged corruption in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal.

The CBI recorded the charge sheet subsequent to getting approval from the government to prosecute Sharma, who was the Defense Secretary between 2011 and 2013 before being appointed the Comptroller and Auditor General.

The central probe agency has likewise named the then Air Vice Marshal Jasbir Singh Panesar (presently resigned), deputy chief test pilot S A Kunte, the then Wing Commander Thomas Mathew and Group Captain N Santosh, they said.

Kunte and Santosh resigned as air commodores.

The alleged scam relates to the acquisition of 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland.

The CBI’s Special Investigation Team took over the case in 2016 and the first charge sheet was filed against former Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi and 11 others on September 1, 2017.

The case relates to the supposed payoff to swing a deal to acquire 12 VVIP helicopters for AgustaWestland which was ineligible as its helicopters didn’t meet the 6,000-meter functional ceiling parameter set by the Indian Air Force.

The requirement for new helicopters to ship VVIPs – – the president, the prime minister, the vice president and the defence minister – was felt in 1999 when a proposition was moved to track down an option in contrast to the IAF’s Soviet-period Mi8s.

The CBI has denounced then IAF Chief S P Tyagi for suggesting a decrease in the operational ceiling of the helicopters from 6,000 meters to 4,500 meters which carried AgustaWestland into the race, the CBI has affirmed.

The IAF was unequivocally against the progressions yet when Tyagi turned into the chief, he suggested it, the agency has claimed.

This, as indicated by the CBI, was supposedly done at the command of Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland top leaders who connected with the services of three middlemen – – Christian Michel, Guido Haschke and Carlos Gerosa – – who purportedly offered incentives to Tyagi and his cousins Rajiv, Sandeep and Julie.

The agency has affirmed that Michel’s organizations got around 42.27 million Euros, approximately seven percent of the arrangement sum, from the organizations to swing the Rs 3,600-crore deal in their favour.

The bribes were purportedly directed through organizations of Michel and an advocate, Gautam Khaitan, as various agreements through layered exchanges to disguise them.

The first charge sheet for the case was documented in September 2017 naming previous IAF chief Tyagi and others. It was trailed by another charge sheet in September 2020 against Michel and others.

(With PTI inputs)



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