Ex-Defence Secy SK Sharma, 4 Ex-IAF Officials Chargesheeted By CBI In AgustaWestland Chopper Deal Case

| Updated: 16 March, 2022 5:02 pm IST
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

NEW DELHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday filed a supplementary charge sheet against former Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma and four retired officials of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case, sources said.

Sharma had also served as Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).

The charge sheet has been filed before Special Judge Arvind Kumar in Delhi’s Rouse Avenue Court which has listed the matter for March 28.

Sharma and the four former IAF officials were named in the charge sheet after the agency got prosecution sanction by the government, sources said. The CBI had sought the approval of the government to prosecute the five former officials last year.

In September 2019, the CBI filed a supplementary charge sheet against 15 accused, including alleged middleman Christian Michel and accused-turned-approver Rajiv Saxena, in connection with the alleged corruption in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal. The first charge sheet in the case was filed in September 2017.

The case relates to the purchase of 12 AgustaWestland helicopters built by Italian defence manufacturing giant Finmeccanica at an estimated cost of Rs 3,600 crore for ferrying VVIPs during the UPA government in 2010.

On January 1, 2014, the government of India cancelled the purchase contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF, over alleged breach of contractual obligations and on charges of paying kickbacks amounting to Rs 423 crore.

The CBI, which registered an FIR in the case on March 12, 2013, had alleged that former IAF chief SP Tyagi, some of his relatives and the other accused received kickbacks from AgustaWestland to help it win the contract.

The CBI investigation revealed that payments were made to the Tyagis by alleged middlemen Guido Haschke, Carlo Gerosa and Christian Michel.

In December 2018, Indian investigative agencies arrested British national Michel after he was brought to India from the UAE. He has been in judicial custody since then. Dubai-based businessman Rajiv Saxena was extradited to India on January 31, 2019.

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