The Central Bureau of Investigation on Saturday questioned former Air Force Deputy Chief JS Gujral in connection with the VVIP chopper scam. Gujral was the head of procurement for the Air Force in 2005, and was privy to a high-level meeting in which policy for procuring VVIP helicopters was discussed. CBI officials said he was called in to clarify what transpired at that meeting, which was led by then National Security Advisor MK Narayanan.
While the CBI refused to confirm that Gujral was questioned as a witness in the case – as he was in 2013 – no allegations have been made against him. According to the Times of India, a CBI official said he was cooperating and would be called in for a second round of questioning.
Three Tyagi brothers, cousins of former Air Force Chief SP Tyagi, have been called in for questioning later this week. The CBI’s new round of investigations comes after an Italian court said in April that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government refused to share crucial documents with investigators and displayed "substantial disregard" in arriving at the full truth behind the Rs 3,565-crore scam involving chopper firm AugustaWestland.
The scam has led to a massive war of words between the Congress and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government, both inside and outside Parliament. On Saturday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley dismissed Congress leader AK Anthony’s claims that AugustaWestland was blacklisted by the UPA government and still involved in a sale to the current National Democratic Alliance. “No such thing has happened and I feel he is suffering from memory loss,” Jaitley said.
The Centre will give a detailed chronology of the scam, along with releasing documents stating facts, in Parliament on May 4, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Sunday.