The Central Bureau of Investigaton (CBI) on Friday arrested former Air Force Chief SP Tyagi in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland choppers deal case.
Gautam Khaitan, Delhi-based lawyer and Sanjeev Tyagi alias Julie Tyagi have also been arrested by the CBI in connection with the case. Tyagi, who retired in 2007, was questioned by the CBI extensively in the past in this case.
All the three accused have been arrested under Section 120B, Section 420 IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. They were called for questioning at CBI Headquarters, CBI said.
“This is for first time a former IAF chief has been arrested by the central probe agency,” official sources said.
CBI had also got issued Letters Rogatory (judicial requests) to multiple countries to gather more leads and evidences in this case.
In May this year, Tyagi was questioned by the ED in connection with the case after being quizzed for days by the CBI.
Agency sources had earlier indicated that Tyagi’s questioning was necessary in the light of a recent judgement of a Milan (Italy) court which had sentenced Italian defence and aerospace major Finmeccanica’s former chief Giuseppe Orsi and the former CEO of the firm Bruno Spagnolini on corruption charges in the sale of a dozen AgustaWestland helicopters to India for VVIP purposes.
Tyagi’s name cropped at various points in the said judgement. The allegation against the former Air chief is that he allegedly reduced the height of the VVIP helicopters so that AgustaWestland could be included in the bids.
He took over as the Indian Air Force chief on December 31, 2005 and retired from service in 2007.
ED had registered a PMLA case in this regard in 2014 and named 21 people including Tyagi in its money laundering FIR. It had also arrested Delhi-based businessman Gautam Khaitan and had also filed a charge sheet last year.
ED had earlier submitted that Khaitan was on the board of Chandigarh-based company Aeromatrix which was allegedly a front firm for the financial dealings in the chopper deal. Tyagi, however, has denied any wrongdoing on his part.
On January 1, 2014, India scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW101 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force (IAF) over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of paying kickbacks to the tune of Rs 423 crore by it for securing the deal.
(With inputs from agencies)
# Probe reveals undue favour was shown,AgustaWestland Ltd accepted illegal vendors through middlemen/relatives including Sanjeev Tyagi etc-CBI
# All 3 accused arrested under Section 120B, Section 420 IPC & Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988; were called for questioning at CBI HQ: CBI
# Total deal amount in AgustaWestland was Rs 3767 Crore and bribe amount was 12% of main amount: CBI