Brajesh Mishra loosened norms that let AgustaWestland in: Tyagi - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Wednesday 13 February 2013

Brajesh Mishra loosened norms that let AgustaWestland in: Tyagi

by Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 14th Feb 13

Air Chief Marshal Shashindra Pal Tyagi, the former Indian Air Force (IAF) chief who has been named by Italian investigators as a recipient of bribes in India’s Rs 3,700-crore purchase of 12 AW-101 AgustaWestland helicopters, has revealed to Business Standard it was former national security advisor Brajesh Mishra who took the crucial decision that a helicopter which could convey VIPs to helipads at 15,000 feet would meet Indian requirements.

Italian investigators, who are probing corruption in international arms deals by defence giant Finmeccanica, have charged that Tyagi was paid to “tweak” the IAF’s requirements in order to bring the AgustaWestland helicopter into contention. Initially, when the requirements were framed in 2000, it was specified that the helicopter should be able to land at altitudes of 18,000 feet. This requirement was diluted to 15,000 feet in 2003.

“It was none other than Brajesh Mishra, the prime minister’s principal secretary and India’s first national security advisor, who decided that 15,000 feet would suffice. Defence Minister George Fernandes had initially kept the requirement to 18,000 feet because he travelled frequently to Siachen. But that stringent requirement meant that only one helicopter, offered by Eurocopter, met the Indian requirements. Brajesh Mishra wanted a wider choice and he ordered that 15,000-feet capability would suffice.”

Further, says Tyagi, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) felt that the Eurocopter did not meet the requirements of the Special Protection Group (SPG), which is responsible for the PM’s security. The Eurocopter’s passenger cabin was too low, which meant that the security personnel could not take position while travelling with the PM.

“It was the SPG and the PMO which, then, drove most of the decision-making on the helicopter’s specifications. This contract was not handled by the IAF, like conventional weapons contracts. This was driven from a very high level, from the PMO itself,” says Tyagi.

Tyagi notes that the decision to dilute the helicopter’s specifications was first taken by the NDA government. However, when the UPA government came to power in May 2004, there was no change in the direction that the Brajesh Mishra-led PMO had given for the purchase. “I don’t understand why AgustaWestland would need to bribe me. When I took over as Chief of Air Staff (CAS) at the beginning of 2005, the process of framing specifications was almost complete. And, the contract itself was signed in 2010, more than two years after I left office. So, why waste money on me?” asks Tyagi.

Today, a day after referring the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation, Defence Minister A K Antony threatened the government would not hesitate to blacklist or invoke legal and financial penalties against any vendor which had resorted to illegal practices to bag an Indian defence contract.

“Nobody will be spared, whatever may be the consequences… If a company violates the conditions (of the Defence Procurement Procedure), they are liable for criminal action. The company is liable to be blacklisted,” Antony told reporters today.

Yesterday, Guiseppe Orsi, the chief of Finmeccanica (AgustaWestland is a subsidiary of Finmeccanica) was arrested after Italian investigators found prima facie wrongdoing in international defence contracts, including the payment of bribes in India for the AgustaWestland contract.


  1. Hahaha... nice try! Even if we agree with what u say about Tyagi claiming no tweaking done by him... can u explain the fact that the first tranche of bribes were made in 2005? Are you suggesting that BJP ppl were taking the bribe money and Congress looked the other way?!

    Pabbi (the journo who broke this) said on CnnIbn yesterday that chages WERE made between 2004/2007.

    Please don't think that we are stupid. Wonder if u will publish my comment on ur blog!!

  2. Well said, Rati! There seems to be a general perception among some paid to defend the govt that they can sell us spiel! Unfortunately not, my dear chappie....nice try, though.

  3. so now... will ravi shankar proasad... be seen around... as saw on 1st day... the news broke... or as usual... hide behind... gunhghats...

  4. What if the Brajesh Mishra loosened the norms? Does it provide the licence to accept the bribe.

  5. wow still amazed at how ignorant some people are !!!!.... ready to execute a person even before he has a chance to defend himself.....

    Important lesson

    "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt"?

  6. ACM Tyagi, certainly has a point. In 2010, he had already vacated the office. Back in 2005, he AOC-in-C SWAC and certainly not at WAC at that point of time, why would he be bribed?

  7. Shukla Sir, Kindly edit my previous comment- "AMC Tyagi was AOC-in-C SWAC in 2003" and not in 2005 as I had previously typed.

  8. Probable in all reality.

    One of the greatest lessons in this is a wake up call to all the shall be the first scape goat, so don't agree to be the 'yes man"

    Yet in all this the Indian media has begun the Indian circus as soon as news was let out. Has someone really thought that India is playing in the hands of those who want India to maintain a status quo with regards to her old armament. Italian politics and court is known as bad as Indian if not worse.As far as the middle men go, they will swing where the money is. Even if there is some truth in the italian report, it is being used to lead India again where it ewas after the bofors deal. VP Singh made a mountain of it,did nothiing for it , became the PM, opened the Babri issue, the mandal issue and went away..India then burnt on 2 fronts, sc/st, babri masjid dividing the hindu muslim gap and no pocurement for the armed forces....china and pakistan smiling...

  9. Yah, Since Brijesh Mishra is in heaven he can not be called in ... very good !!

    Secondly, if one wants to escape the It**** Mafia, blame BJP...

    So it is a game between Tyagies and Mishras ... well done ...

  10. Quite Probable.

    In any case has any one tried to look at the angle wherein someone knowing fuly well the Indian media going head on to bring out the story, knowing that the opposition would go full out and in the Indian circus defense deals will be put to stop. People call it Bofors fact the lessons from the Bofors is missed by all...that to maintain a balance with respect to India, Pak China, so as to take advantage of the imbalance, India was guided into stopping updating its armament. VP SIngh made it out t be a mountain of corruption, became PM , Did nothign of it, but opened 2 fronts to divide India, Babri and SC/St OBC divide via Mandal commission, both babri and mandal being forgotten by the youth of India.Yet BOFORS rewarded Inida a victory at kargil after a decade of the bofors hullo buloo.

    Italian politics, mafia and scandals have if not surpassed India are at par. We with a knee jerk reaction will put a hold to updating our armament, infight, create task forces, waste money and when US leaves afghanistan and Pak is at its peak, and China thru its forces inside India and inside Indias politics will be able to sandwich India....already the trailer is on.

  11. OH Forgot Shukla,
    This guy is your pal on the notorious second chanel on Porkistan...

    How much you get for this piece..

  12. well done sir,you made feel india and it's citizens feel proud by setting another milestone, another fether in india's corrupt defence accquisition council.One day every iaf coas would envy you.Thank you for being such a patriot.Every one who loved to be called as indian will salute you from the bottom of their heart.Thank you once again for continueing the legacy.

  13. Ajay,

    Though Tyagi has a right to be heard. Do tread carefully when coming in the defense of your Track II Colleague. Everything un ravelling and your title is misleading trying to implicate Brijesh Mishra and NDA. It seems giving away Siachin and protecting Pakistani interest is not going to be that easy or cheap. Shadow Games on ;)


  14. One of the biggest lessons from this incident is for the Chiefs. If they think they thru their appeasing the IAS babus, politicians they will get an easy ride out, think again, they will hang the chiefs first at the first smell of a scam!

  15. Point is not who loosen the norm But who taken the kickback. this shit hole argument about technical details is just to misguide

  16. Great, now those machines will be abandoned and languish at different storages until they are useless.


  17. Brijesh Mishra ??
    The poor chap is dead, this tyagi the babuclad officer is to be blamed for everything.

    He is neck deep in shit is evident from how he changed his statements time and then.

    Shukla you ain't too different either if you ignore the truth and support him. Babuclads !!

  18. Its always safe to put blame on a person who is dead.

  19. Col. Shukla,

    I find nothing objectionable in the way the late Brajesh Mishra went about changing the norms. They didnt want a single vendor situation and the original spec didnt meet the requirement of height (1.8m) etc. The ex-AF chief has more to answer on this account if he indeed met the middle men.


  20. We do not need China and Pakistan to displace us, we have GREAT INDIAN MEDIA who can crucify first the dead man and secondly man in uniform. Does media has balls to prove things beyond Tyagi brothers. It will be extremely naive to believe they took all this for themselves and his airforce brother. In all probability it was entrapment executed to the perfection for last 11 months.

    It is our grand Italian Queen, part of Italian mafia syndicate making dough at both the ends (India and Italy) and jokers like Shukla using all objective reasoning ability to convince us. Part of great entrapment and in the end Mother India suffers.

    Shukla you have sacrificed Nationalism at the alter of loyalty to the Italian mafia. Certainly, for me you are a far greater offender.

  21. I think Brownie should resign before signing contract for Rafale. These bloody MOD baboons and Politicians will not even blink twice before sacrificing glory of our beloved and respected Armed forces personal.

    Sad Shukla you do not stand for them, but you are happy picking sides against them.

  22. Guys, jaswant singh who was foreign minister in the NDA regime has supported ACM tyagi's assertions that it was Brajesh misra who tweaked the operational requirements.Moreover the matter is in the italian courts and a final verdit will come soon and ACM tyagi has himself supported the probe in india and he has a right to be heard and defend himself before any enquiry constituted by govt of india.The yellow jounalists should stop pronouncing him guilty even before the courts have done so.He is a man of honour and had a chequered career.

  23. Folks, why are you attacking Shukla-ji for this article. All he is doing is reporting what Tyagi said. He doesn't seem to be publishing his opinion in support of Tyagi. May be I am not reading this too well, but I see only reporting on this article, no analysis or opinion anywhere in this article. There is nothing wrong in letting the world know what the other side of the coin says. Yes, if Shukla-ji came out in defense of Tyagi with his own view, then it's a fair game, but these attacks against him make absolutely no sense.

  24. as always, the con party is using dead bodies to do its dirty business. The specs were altered because with the 1800 feet spec, only one company was in running and obviously PMO did not want this situation.
    Ajai please change the heading to "Tyagi is now blaming NDA govt to cover up his tracks"

  25. All you know that Mr Shukla writes on behalf of business standard(BS). Who is the editor if BS? Mr.Sanjaya Baru. Who is Mr Sanjaya Baru? Mr. Baru was the Official Spokesman and Media Advisor to the Prime Minister of India from 2004 to 2008. What more do you expect from Col. Shukla? Poor Chap.

  26. Shuklaji,

    Stop singing for your supper..the title of your post is very misleading..please read the letter written by Brajesh Mishra that was released today. You are slowly becoming eligible for a share of the Rs.100 crore earmarked by congress for countering their opponents on social media. This Tyagi guy is a Track II diplomat who recommends ceding Siachen to Pakistan..enough said about his integrity.


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