VVIP chopper deal: Enforcement Directorate attaches assets of ex-IAF cheif SP Tyagi’s family

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached five expensive flats in and around the national capital in the name of cousins of former IAF chief S P Tyagi in connection with its money laundering probe into the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP choppers deal.

The agency, in its order issued against the Tyagi brothers– Sanjeev, Sandeep and Rajeev, said its investigations found that the “proceeds of crime” of this deal were allegedly used by them in the acquisition of these properties which have now been seized under law.

“Following painstaking investigations, five immovable properties of Tyagi brothers worth Rs 6.20 crore have been provisionally attached,” the ED said in a statement here.

The attached assets include a flat in phase-V in Gurgaon, two others in Sector-50 of Noida, one such property in the upmarket K G Marg area of Delhi and a 5th-floor flat in a business centre in Kaushambi in adjoining Ghaziabad.

Sources said the stated value of these posh dwellings is just the book price and the actual market value could be many times more than this amount.

The agency had registered a criminal case in this deal last year under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and has said that about Rs 423 crore (58 million Euro) was allegedly paid by European businessmen Christian Michel, Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke to swing the deal in favour of AgustaWestland in UK, a subsidiary of Ms Finmeccanica, Italy.

The deal, which was scrapped by the government following allegations of corruption, was inked to purchase 12 advanced helicopters for use by Indian VVIPs and the procurement amount was Rs 3,600 crore.

The agency alleged that a bribe money of 10.50 lakh Euro (about Rs 7.68 crore) was paid by the alleged middlemen to Tyagi brothers in two tranches, first by way of bank transfer and then in cash.

The investigation, the ED said, revealed that “out of the aforesaid kickbacks, payment of Euro 10,50,000 was made to Sanjeev Tyagi, Sandeep Tyagi and Rajeev Tyagi and their companies by Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa through their companies Ms Gordian Services Sarl, Tunisia and Ms IDS Tunisia.

“The payment of Euro 4,05,625 (about to Rs 2.49 cr) to Tyagi brothers was made through the banking channel between 2004-2011 and remaining payment of Euro 6,44,975 (equivalent to about Rs 4.50 cr) was made in cash during April-December 2011 following signing of contract on February 2, 2010 for supply of 12 VVIP helicopters,” it said.

While the former Indian Air Force (IAF) chief has denied any wrongdoing by him or his family members in connection with the deal, the ED has already questioned Sanjeev in the case and it is expected that he former IAF boss too will soon be summoned for recording his statement under PMLA.

An attachment order, under money laundering laws, is a stringent action undertaken by the central probe agency to deprive the accused from taking benefits of their ill-gotten assets and the same can be challenged before the Adjudicating Authority of the Act within a period of 180 days.

The agency has earlier attached assets worth Rs 1.12 crore of a foreign middleman in the same case.

The agency has booked Tyagi, his family members, Gerosa, Michel and Haschke, six companies AgustaWestland,Finmeccanica and Chandigarh-based IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix and one each based in Mauritius and Tunisia, and unknown persons in its criminal complaint under PMLA.