The Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday claimed that former board member of Aeromatrix Gautam Khaitan has accepted taking payments from Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, middlemen in the AgustaWestland Chopper deal, but rejected allegations that it was part of any kickbacks.
“He has agreed taking payment from European middlemen Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa. However, we do not agree with the purpose behind the payment which has been cited by him,” CBI sources said.
Khaitan and former Deputy Air Chief N V Tyagi were examined by CBI in connection with AgustaWestland chopper deal, the sources said.
While the questioning of Khaitan continued for about 10 hours, Tyagi left within four hours after recording his statement before the investigators.
The sources said while Khaitan accepted money was received from Gerosa and Haschke he denied that it was part of kick backs to clinch the deal.
The agency sources said Tyagi cousins -- Sandeep, Sanjeev, Rajeev -- will be called tomorrow for questioning. The three brothers are named in the CBI FIR.
Khaitan, who is an advocate and a former Board member of company Aeromatrix which was allegedly used to route bribe amount, is named in the CBI FIR as one of the accused.
The focus of the questioning was his alleged links with Italian middlemen -- Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschkhe, the sources said.
CBI had registered a case against former Air Chief S P Tyagi along with 13 others including his cousins and European middlemen.
The allegation against the former Air Chief was that he reduced flying ceiling of the helicopter from 6,000 m to 4,500 m (15,000ft) which put AgustaWestland helicopters in the race for the deal without which its choppers were not even qualified for submission of bids.
Tyagi has denied allegations against him and said the change of specifications, which brought AgustaWestland into contention, was a collective decision in which senior officers of Indian Air Force, SPG and other departments were involved.
Image: Gautam Khaitan arriving at the CBI headquarters on Thursday. Photographg: PTI