Thursday, November 1, 2012

India tweaks tender to procure 12 VVIP Helicopters

‘India changed tech requirements to help Italian firm’
Manu Pubby : New Delhi, Thu Nov 01 2012, 02:22 hrs
India allegedly tweaked the technical requirements in the tender to procure 12 VVIP helicopters for the Air Force to help Italian manufacturer AgustaWestland enter the race, an associate of the suspected middleman in the deal has alleged in his confession to Italian prosecutors.
In his testimony, the associate of Guido Haschke said the AW 101 chopper did not qualify initially as the requirements were being drawn by India in 2006. They were allegedly tweaked after Haschke struck a deal with the Italian company.
Investigations have also found that the Indian businessman named by Italian prosecutors — Sanjeev Kumar (Julie) Tyagi — is closely related to former air chief marshal S P Tyagi, who was heading the force when the tender was floated in December 2006.
S P Tyagi is a first cousin of Julie, a Delhi-based businessman. He is one of three Indians being probed for suspected corruption in the Rs 3,546 crore deal.
The retired officer confirmed he was related to Julie but said they had no business links. Julie could not be reached for comment. Reached for its comment, the IAF did not respond until going to press.
In his May 14 confession, business consultant Carmelo Messina says he put Haschke and his partner Carlos Gerosa in touch with AgustaWestland in 2006 to facilitate the Indian contract. He says Haschke was keen to get in touch with AgustaWestland as he “claimed he had deep knowledge of the Indian market”.
“Haschke said he had good relations with a person from Indian defence. I think he met him during his studies in America,” the statement says. Messina said Haschke boasted about his connections and claimed to have insider information that could help the Italian firm.
Messina says AgustaWestland figured out its choppers would not qualify for the contract after it contacted Haschke. He says Haschke managed to get the requirements changed to accommodate AgustaWestland.
“He told me he managed to convince the Indians, or actually the defence ministry, to reconsider the features of the helicopters so that Italian helicopters too could take part in the tender,” Messina says. “After some evaluation, it was found Haschke was right and the... ministry had really modified the technical features of the helicopters it needed.”
Messina says he received “50,000-60,000 euros in cash” from Haschke as a “thank you sign” in 2009.
India changed tech requirements to help Italian firm
Who is Air Chief Marshal S P Tyagi?
Air Chief Marshal Shashindra Pal Tyagi (born 14 March 1945), more commonly known as S P Tyagi, is the former Chief of the Air Staff of the Indian Air Force. Prior to becoming chief of Indian Air Force, he was commanding the Western Air Command of the Air Force. He was commissioned in the fighter stream of the IAF on December 31, 1963. He is said to have "actively participated" in the 1965 and 1971 wars.
Air Chief Marshal Shashindra Pal Tyagi took over as the 20th Chief of Air Staff of the Indian Air Force from 31 December 2004. Popularly known as "Bundle", Tyagi was born at Indore on March 14, 1945 . He is an alumnus of St Xavier School in Jaipur. He was commissioned in the IAF on 31 December 1963 in the fighter stream.
The initial years of his career in the air force, Tyagi flew Gnats with No.23 Squadron and later served with Hunters of No.27 Squadron. A veteran of both the 1965 and the 1971 Wars, he was one of the pioneer batch of eight pilots selected for conversion on the Jaguar Interdiction aircraft when it was inducted in 1980s. Whilst training at Lossiemouth, he was one of the two Indian pilots chosen for a Photo Recce Course at Coltishall with No.41 Squadron RAF.
Tyagi commanded No.14 Squadron "Bulls" later after coming back to India. A Graduate of the TACDE with a Fighter Combat Leader and Pilot Attack Instructor qualifications, he had also attended the Junior Commanders Course, the National Defence College and finally the Defence Services Staff College at Wellington. He received the Vayu Sena Medal (VM) for distinguished service in 1985.
In his mid career, Tyagi had several other appointments under his belt. He was an instructor at TACDE. As an Air Commodore, Tyagi commanded 33 Wing at Jamnagar. Later he was also posted as the Defence Attache at the Indian Consulate in Saudi Arabia. Air Commodore Tyagi was awarded the Ati Vishist Seva Medal (AVSM) in 1994.
He also held the appointments of Director Operations (Air Defence), ACAS (Intelligence), ACAS (Ops). He has had a stint as a senior fellow at the IDSA and was also a senior Instructor and Directing Staff at the DSSC Wellington.
In the rank of Air Marshal, Tyagi was appointed as the SASO of Central Air Command for some time. He took over as the AOC-in-C of Central Air Command not soon after. he is one of the few officers to have the distinction of commanding three Air Commands, Central, South Western and Western Air Command.
Air Marshal Tyagi was awarded the Param Vishist Seva Medal (PVSM) in 2003, and was appointed as one of the honorary ADCs of the President of India. He has the distinction of being the one and only Air Chief Marshal to have done skydiving after being appointed to a high post as Chief of the Air Staff of Indian Air Force.
He is married to Mrs. Vandana Tyagi and they have a son and a daughter.

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