The 568-page report, a copy of which is with The Indian Express, contains extensive details of the investigation into the Rs 3,546 crore deal and covers several businessmen, consultants and employees, including Indians. While the probe is still on, a preliminary inquiry report was given to the Naples Tribunal in July.
Besides alleged middlemen Guido Haschke and Christian Michel, the report given to the Naples court names Praveen Bakshi, the chief officer of Chandigarh-based firm Aeromatrix, Gautam Khaitan, a Delhi lawyer who represents Aeromatrix, and Sanjeev Kumar Tyagi, a Delhi businessman and former air force pilot, as those being investigated. Aeromatrix, a services company which specialises in aerospace, among others, is owned by Haschke and his partner Carlo Gerosa, who is also being probed.
The report, which includes intercepted phone calls and transcripts of conversations recorded through bugs planted on Haschke, makes a strong case for investigating allegations that politicians and officials were bribed in Italy and India to ensure the deal goes through. It has several references to the above mentioned names in phone conversations and other recordings. The report says Girasalo Paolo, the India-head of the helicopter company, is also being probed.
Bakshi and Khaitan, when reached for their comment by The Indian Express, denied they had any role in dealings related to the defence business. Bakshi said he is an officer of the company performing administrative roles and heard about the VVIP helicopter deal only from media reports. Khaitan, who is currently abroad, said he was in touch with Haschke as his attorney and is in no way involved in or aware of any defence dealings. Tyagi could not be reached for his comment.
The report says the probe is focusing on: “A) Alleged corruption perpetrated by some top managers of the subsidiaries, through bribes (also international bribes) paid by Finmeccanica and its subsidiaries to win tenders in foreign countries and B) other practices involving top managers of Finmeccanica subsidiaries and some political parties and their leaders, who were recipients of ‘dirty’ money coming from operations in point A.” AgustaWestland is a subsidiary of Italian conglomerate Finmeccanica.
The interrogation of a former senior employee of AgustaWestland, corroborated by phone interceptions, bugs in cars and houses of the suspects and seized documents indicate that a “criminal conspiracy” was hatched to commit crimes like “international corruption, money laundering and illicit funds to political parties”, the report says.
Phone records produced as evidence in court has several references to alleged bribe money being transferred or hidden by Haschke. “AgustaWestland is believed to have paid the mediators a commission of 41 million euros which later became 51 million,” the report says, adding that Lorenzo Borgogni, a former senior employee of the company claimed that two agents were hired to push the India deal.
“In particular, Borgogni talked about international commercial operations and especially about the supply of 12 helicopters from AgustaWestland International Ltd. to the Indian government thanks to the mediation of Guido Ralph Haschke and Christian Michel. Indian law does not allow any compensation for mediators,” the report says.
Incidentally, when the helicopter deal probe was first reported by The Indian Express in March this year, Defence Minister A K Antony had informed Parliament that “no specific probe is being conducted about India-related transactions” by Rome.
What should we do with these people who take the country for a ransom? Kumar Melbourne
It shall not progress much as some high ups in Soniajee's power cliques like vadra are involved like Quottorochchi of Bofors fame