Prashant Bhushan’s explosive revelation, accuses Chhattisgarh govt of huge corruption in AgustaWestland scam

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Activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan on Thursday made stunning allegation that Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh’s son Abhishek Singh had acted as a service agent for AgustaWestland adding that the latter even received kickbacks through his offshore entities in British Virgin Islands after the deal was completed.

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Bhushan tweeted, “Sham global tender,Virgin Island agent paid 30% commission for Agusta deal by Raman.Son’s acct in Island. No invest! (sic)

His next tweet said, “UPA Agusta deal very shady. Culprits must be booked. What of Raman’s shadier Agusta deal? Son’s Virgin Island acct found.Will PM probe&sack? Ever heard of Global Tender mentioning a Helicop of a particular model&Comp?Raman’s govt did so while buying Agusta! (sic)”

According to Bhushan, the Chhattisgarh’s BJP government in 2007, had purchased A-109 power helicopter from the infamous Italian defence manufacturing firm AgustaWestland.

It was, Bhushan claimed, after the state government in 2006 issued a tender to buy A-109 power helicopter.

It decided to buy the product from AgustaWestland at $5.5 million. The Italian firm advised the Chhattisgarh government to procure the helicopters from its Hong Kong-based subsidiary Sharp Ocean. However, the deal was struck at an inflated rate of $6.1 million. The same helicopter was purchased by Jharkhand government at $5.5 millions in 2006.

The recipients of kickback, according to Bhushan, was the son of Chhattisgarh CM.

Addressing a news conference in the national capital later, Bhushan said that while investigating the Panama paper links, he had stumbled upon documents, which allegedly showed Shark Oceans paying the commission amount to Abhishek Singh’s offshore entity Quest Heights Limited, located in British Virgin Islands.

He said, “His name is registered as ‘Abhishak’ Singh. That is probably a clerical mistake. But we have verified the address. It is the same address where Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Rama Singh resides. Abhishek Singh is a major shareholder in that offshore firm. Both the firms have used UCB Bank for the transaction.”

Here are the highlights from Prashant Bhushan’s press conference:

  • A virtual single vendor situation was created in Agusta deal
  • We are going to share details of a deal where only one product was promoted. A compensation of 30% was given
  • A-109 chopper could be made available at $6.22 million, Chattisgarh government told AgustaWestland
  • AgustaWestland said our dealer Sharp Ocean (located in the British Virgin Isles), can supply the choppers early without any extra commission
  • No efforts were made to find out about other firms that make and supply choppers
  • Government proposed only AgustaWestland choppers to be preferred
  • Cabinet decided in February 2007 that choppers may be bought from Sharp Ocean provided if $200,000 premium can be negotiated
  • On 30th March, a government note said choppers should be bought from Sharp Ocean. On Chhattisgarh government said it will invite a global tender and on 30th May, the government issued a global tender
  • Three offers were made on this tender, interestingly out of these 3 firms, AgustaWestland offered Rs. 29.77cr

(Inputs from NDTV)

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