Even as the Central Bureau of Investigation has decided to send a team to Italy to gather details on the VVIP chopper scam, evidence regarding links with the Emaar-MGF is slowly coming to light, reports Vicky Nanjappa.
The demand to probe the Congress link into this scam are getting louder, and according to Bharatiya Janata Party’s national secretary Kirit Somaya, the United Progressive Alliance government had signed an agreement with private corporate Emmar-MGF to develop the Commonwealth Games village in New Delhi. Under original agreement the government was to get 389 flats from Emaar-MGF.
The name of Emaar-MGF comes into the case due to the association it had with Guido Ralph Haschk, one of the middlemen in the deal, who was also the director of the company between Septembe 2009 to December 2009.
Somaya has demanded that association needs to be probed for various reasons. To begin with Emaar-MGF is owned by the late V P Gupta, whose grandson Kanishka Singh is a close associate of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, and also his advisor.
In the name of Commonwealth Games, the Congress government agreed to purchase flats from this private company at the rate of Rs.11,000 per sq.ft, resulting into scam of more than Rs.2,500 crores of rupees.
The Controller and Auditor General of India in its report No.CA 23 of 2009-10 has passed strictures against this manipulation. Like Emaar-MGF was gifted contracts and land worth more than Rs 2500 crores in CWG games, which is still under probe. Similarly in this case also the deal has been struck with huge kickback to Hashcke.
Indian investigators would also look into the taped conversations that Haschke had with an Indian. The Italian investigators have alleged that Haschke used to take orders from an Indian and it also revealed that he had an earlier agreement with AgustaWestland for 5 per cent commission.
The Italians have also detailed how the commissions were worked out in the chopper deal and how the money would be laundered in India.
The Italian investigation report suggests that out of the total 51 million euros of the commission, a large sum was diverted to Christian Michel, a British consultant who is also an accused in the scam. The name of Michel also crops up in another conversation that Haschke has with Bruno Spagnolini, CEO of AgustaWestland.
In this conversation he expresses surprise that the probe agency found out about the commission amount. Further the conversations also have a reference to a contract with an Indian counterpart for the deal.
Haschke says, “In any case, we have already decided, together with AgustaWestland lawyer, which is our position, which is: Yes, initially I went there (to India) to make proposals about this VVIP deal, but I was told that in India you can have no aid/assistance, therefore the original 5 per cent contract was not effective."
Another piece of evidence in this case would be the discussion on how a total of 52 million euros would be divided between Haschke and Christian Michel. The probe suggests that there was an agreement that was drawn out by the two of them to settle a dispute which was threatening to end their contract with Finmeccanica.
A letter to this effect, which was seized, would suggest that Michel had agreed on taking a 12 million euro cut to accommodate a demand made by Haschke.
According to the investigations in Italy, the agreement was drawn up in May 2011, after a dispute had threatened to end their contract with the chopper company which had refused to pay more. Haschke says that Finmeccanica threatened to stop the payments that were coming through the bogus engineering contracts.
Harschke says that he met with Michel in Dubai and they discussed that they need to make an adjustment with the commission. In this regard the two of them reached an agreement which was signed in Dubai.
The taped conversations, which are with the Italian investigators, also has portions in which Haschke has bragged about how they would not get caught by the Indians.
“They are fools and will take years to track this link,” he had said, adding that they had been paid by cash and hence there is no trail.
Moreover they will not be able to identify (former Indian Air Force chief) Sanjeev Kumar Tyagi as the person behind the matter, he had also said.
The Italian investigators have also found that the Indians had tweaked the technical requirements which helped AgustaWestland enter into the race and offer supply of 12 VVIP choppers to India.