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Chopper Scam: India to Question 'Middleman' on Dec 13

Indian officials will examine alleged middleman Guido Haschke in the chopper scam during the ongoing proceedings of the case in an Italian court on December 13, Defence Ministry sources today said.

After yesterday's hearing, "Our lawyer has reserved the right to question the American-Swiss national Haschke," they said.

During the "next hearing in the case on December 13 in a court in Milan, our lawyer will put questions to him", they said.

The Indian team including ministry officials had not questioned him during the last hearing yesterday. This is the first time that India would get an access to question Haschke, who is allegedly one of the main middlemen involved in the scam.

According to reports from Italy, Haschke has also claimed that 6 million euros were paid to air force officials and 8.4 million euros to the bureaucracy. He claimed that politicians were also paid.

On the issue of payments made to bureaucrats and politicians, the reports said that the money was part of draft budget prepared by the middlemen on a paper for the deal in which air force has been written as 'AF' and politicians have been referred to as 'pol'.

In the last hearing, Haschke had said that he had met former IAF chief S P Tyagi six to seven times while recounting his role in the scandal.

He said that there was a plan to divide a commission of 7 per cent of the worth of the deal with the three Tyagi brothers, cousins of then Air chief S P Tyagi.

The alleged middleman also recounted the various meetings at multiple locations between him and his accomplices in the whole episode in Rome and Dubai.

The Defence Ministry is expected to scrap the deal for the 12 VVIP choppers after it found that the Anglo-Italian firm violated the pre-contract integrity pact with India.

AgustaWestland and the Tyagi brothers have denied any wrongdoing on their behalf in the deal worth Rs 3,600 crore.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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