PUBLISHED: 21:50 GMT, 18 February 2013 | UPDATED: 21:50 GMT, 18 February 2013
The tremors of the VVIP helicopter scam were felt in Andhra Pradesh after the spotlight fell on the family of the late former chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy and his evangelist son-in-law Anil Kumar.
Carlo Gerosa, the business partner of controversial arms agent Guido Haschke and allegedly a middleman in the multi-crore scam that helped AgustaWestland clinch the deal to sell 12 helicopters to the Indian Air Force, was associated with Arbor Charitable Foundation India – a Christian missionary and service organisation based at Karunagiri of Naidupet block in Khammam district.
Sources said Arbor began its fully-fledged activities after the organisers got in touch with then chief minister YSR Reddy in 2007.
As the Arbor Charitable Foundation India got registered with the ministry of corporate affairs in December 2007, the YSR government allotted about 2,000 acres of land to the foundation at a nominal cost to run its activities, which include community-based programmes, micro-finance, water management and sanitation, housing and child welfare programmes.
In March 2008, Gerosa was appointed as director of the foundation in Khammam. And within two months, the YSR government placed an order with AgustaWestland, Italy, for purchase of the Agusta-139 model helicopter at a cost of Rs 63 crore, though a Bell-430 chopper bought in June 1999 was already there for the CM.
Sources said it was because of Gerosa’s links with AgustaWestland that YSR had bought the latest helicopter and in return, his government had allotted land to the foundation in Khammam.
“After YSR’s death in September 2009 in a helicopter crash, ironically involving Bell-430, Gerosa went back to Italy,” sources said.
There are allegations that YSR’s son-in-law “Brother” Anil Kumar has links with the foundation and it was only under the influence of Anil Kumar that YSR had promoted the foundation.
“We have evidence to prove the nexus between Anil Kumar and Arbor Charitable Foundation and their links to the chopper scam. We will disclose them to the CBI and also raise it in Parliament during the budget session,” Telugu Desam Party MPs Nama Nageshwara Rao and C.M. Ramesh said.
Efforts to contact the Arbor head office proved futile. Anil Kumar too could not be contacted for his clarification, but his close associate, Kiriti, sought to deny the allegations.
“As far as I know, Anil has nothing to do with Arbor. The pastors’ meeting held at Khammam during 2009 elections was organised by us and not Arbor Foundation. May be there were pastors belonging to the foundation at the meeting,” he said.