Goa Guv Wanchoo quizzed by CBI at Raj Bhavan

NDTV, PANAJI | 04 July 2014 13:35 IST

Goa Governor BV Wanchoo is being questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation since 11 this morning as a witness in connection with alleged irregularities in the purchase of 12 helicopters meant for VVIP use from AgustaWestland, an Anglo-Indian defence manufacturer.

Mr Wanchoo, a retired IPS official who is considered close to the Gandhi family of the Congress, was the head of the Special Protection Group or the SPG, which protects the Prime Minister, former Prime Ministers and their families. In that position he was involved in the selection of the helicopter.
 
Mr Wanchoo became the governor of Goa in May, 2012. His tenure is scheduled to end in 2017, but after today's questioning by the CBI, he could opt to resign from his post like the Governor of West Bengal MK Narayanan did last week after being questioned by the CBI in the same case.  
 
Mr Narayanan, a former National Security Advisor or NSA, was questioned as a witness on June 27 by the CBI. He resigned three days later.

The 3600-crore deal was signed in 2010.  It was cancelled in January this year by India over allegations that kickbacks were paid by AgustaWestland and its parent company, Italian defence giant Finnmeccanica.

 

Mr Narayanan as NSA and Mr Wanchoo as the SPG chief attended meetings in 2005 where technical specifications were amended for the 12 helicopters that the government wanted to buy for the use of the  Prime Minister and President among others. The changes ensured that AgustaWestland qualified for the contract.
 
The questioning of the Governors comes after a major legal battle over whether they are entitled to constitutional immunity from interrogation.  

In March last year, the CBI registered a criminal case under India's anti-corruption laws and named Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland  as targets of its probe. The CBI has said that four firms and 12 individuals, including former Air Force Chief SP Tyagi, are being investigated. The retired officer has denied any wrongdoing. 

Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland have denied paying bribes but Italian police have arrested the head of Finmeccanica, Giuseppe Orsi, in connection with the case.

Original Report 

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