The middleman, Guido Haschke, has also said that he received 20 million euros as commission and of this, 12 million euros were passed on to S P Tyagi’s Delhi-based businessmen cousins Julie Tyagi, Docsa Tyagi and Sandeep Tyagi.
The confession was recorded before prosecutors in November 2012, and included in the 64-page investigation report filed on Tuesday for the arrest of Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi for his suspected role in arranging bribes to bag the Indian chopper contract.
The Indian Express was on Wednesday the first to report that the Italian investigation report also alleged that Finmeccanica bribed Tyagi when he was Air Chief to swing the chopper deal in favour of its subsidiary AgustaWestland.
Tyagi, however, has denied the allegations and demanded a probe. He said the alleged move to favour AgustaWestland — by changing the technical specifications to allow it to enter the bid — had taken place in 2003, a year before he became Air Chief. He said he had learnt this from his colleagues and friends.
“I am not just ready for an inquiry but I want an inquiry. I can say that the Air Force did not change any requirements when I was the Chief,” Tyagi told reporters on Wednesday.
The former Air Chief also dismissed Haschke’s claims about their meetings and said his statements were not true.
In his confession, Lugano-based consultant Haschke — one of the two key middlemen in the deal along with Christian Michel — has said that his commission of 20 million euros or 3.5 per cent of the chopper deal, was received through bogus engineering contracts.
He has also claimed that he met Tyagi several times, both before and after the technical requirements of the contract were allegedly changed.
Of the 20 million euros, Haschke has claimed that 60 percent or 12 million euros was passed on to the three Tyagi brothers, the Delhi-based businessmen who have been named in the investigation report.
The remaining 8 million euros, Haschke says, was divided between him and his partner Carlo Gerosa who had been active in the Indian business sector for several years.
This is the first time a key middleman in the deal is admitting to receiving and distributing kickbacks. Italian prosecutors suspect that a total of 51 million euros was paid as kickbacks in the deal and Michel got 31 million euros.
“The agreement was made as an engineering contract equal to 5 per cent of the order. The real cost was of 1.5 per cent while the rest was actually the commission for me and Gerosa, to be shared in the following way: 60 per cent to the Tyagi family and 40 per cent between me and Gerosa,” Haschke’s confession reads.
Haschke has also claimed that he met Tyagi several times at the residence and office of his cousins named in the Italian report.
“I personally met (Air Chief) Marshal Tyagi 6 or 7 times...(Tyagi’s cousin) Julie was also there with the other two brothers...the second time I met him again in Delhi in 2005. This time in the office of the three Tyagi brothers, who have a family business as they are businessmen,” he has said.
S P Tyagi dismissed the statement saying there is “absolutely no truth” to them. “This is utter nonsense. There is no truth to this. It is correct that I met some people in my cousin’s house but my visit was much after the tenders had been issued for the contract,” Tyagi told The Indian Express.
But Haschke has claimed that technical specifications of the deal were discussed in detail during the meetings.
“In this meeting we spoke about the helicopters. (Air Chief) Marshal Tyagi informed us that the operational ceiling will be lowered. Carlo and I thanked him for coming to the office. The meeting was very short,” Haschke has said.
He said he met the officer again around the end of 2006.
“During this meeting we spoke about the technical specifications of the AW101 helicopters. The operational ceiling had already been lowered. AW had prepared a good technical document about the 101 comparing it with the competitors...Tyagi analysed it carefully and while giving it back he told (AgustaWestland official) Lunardi to send it officially to the Indian Air Force,” the confession statement reads.
Earlier on Wednesday, Tyagi told reporters that two critical changes were carried out in the contract requirements - one suggested by the Special Protection Group (SPG) in charge of VVIP security and the other by the Defence ministry.
“As far as I know the process started in 2000 and when it started, 18,000 ft was the height at which the aircraft was to go. In 2003, the government said that only one helicopter company can go at 18,000 ft - it was a French company - and as it was the only one there was a problem,” Tyagi said, referring to the single-vendor situation that had apparently arisen.
Tyagi added that some requirements were also changed by the SPG in 2003 when they asked for a higher cabin door on the chopper so that troops could stand on the doors with their guns for additional security.
“The specifications were changed to 15,000 ft and the cabin height was also increased as the SPG could not stand on the doors with their guns,” Tyagi said.