Current Affairs

Helicopter Scam Net Widens: Goa Governor Wanchoo role under question

With the VVIP helicopter deal exploding into the public domain after Italian investigators alleged former IAF chief Shashi P Tyagi was bribed to swing the Rs 3,546-crore contract for AgustaWestland, has learnt that the current Governor of Goa B V Wanchoo’s who was then in-charge of the Special Protection Group (SPG) role in the now ill-fated deal has also come under scrutiny. However, at this point of time as a Governor, Wanchoo enjoys Constitution Immunity, if at all his role has been proved to be true in this scam.

The government on Wednesday threatened to cancel the deal and blacklist the company if any wrongdoing was established in the case.

Defence minister A K Antony said the “strongest” possible action would be taken against any individual, Indian or foreign, as well as the company concerned if the allegations against them was proved. “Nobody will be spared whatever may be the consequences,” he said, adding the CBI had been told to submit a preliminary report in the case as soon as possible.

CBI is likely to lodge the FIR in the case within 24 hours, although its preliminary report may take a couple of months.

The ongoing Italian probe has alleged Italian aerospace and defence giant Finmeccanica bribed Air Chief Marshal (retd) Tyagi, who was the IAF chief from January 2005 to December 2007, to ensure the contract for the 12 three-engine AW-101 helicopters went to its UK-based subsidiary, AgustaWestland.

In a preliminary 64-page report filed in the tribunal of Busto Arsizio city, after Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi, AgustaWestland head Bruno Spagnolini and two others were arrested, Italian investigators said the money was routed through alleged middle-men Guido Haschke, Carlo Gerosa and Christian Michel to India.

Antony, on being asked about the names of ACM Tyagi and the then Special Protection Group (SPG) chief and now Goa governor B V Wanchoo surfacing in the case, said he was not in a position to say anything at the moment. “Let the CBI inquire into the matter. I don’t want to say who is right, who is wrong. I am not a judge, nor the investigating officer,” he said.


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