The Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday arrested the Former Chief of the Air Staff of the Indian Air Force Shashindra Pal Tyagi in the infamous Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland choppers deal case.
The chopper deal has been haunting several VVIPs since 2013. Here is all you need to know about the AgustaWestland Chopper Scam:
What is AgustaWestland?
AgustaWestland was formed in 2000 as a merger of Agusta (Finmeccanica's subsidiary) and Westland Helicoptors (GKN's subsidiary).
Agusta specialised in making commercial choppers while Westland was the only company manufacturing UK's military choppers. GKN bought out its share in 2004 leaving Agusta as the sole owner.
Why were the choppers needed?
It was perceived that Mil Mi-8s, the existing choppers in until 2000, would become obsolete due to major operational constraints such as inability to operate efficiently during night time and adverse weather conditions.
Also, after the 1999 Kargil war, it was required that choppers be procured which could operate at a height of 6000 meters(Siachen Glacier) and could also be used for transporting VVIPS since Mi-8s weren't that comfortable.
AgustaWestland Chopper deal with India
India signed a contract to purchase 12 AgustaWestland AW101 helicopters in February 2010 for the Communication Squadron of Indian Air Force to carry the president, PM and other VVIPs.
Controversy over the contract came to light on 12 February 2013 with the arrest of Giuseppe Orsi, the CEO of Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland's parent company by Italian authorities.
AgustaWestland Chopper scam inquiry
Names of several Indian politicians and military officials cropped up during the Italian investigations, forcing India to launch an investigation.
In early 2013, an Indian national parliamentary investigation began into allegations of bribery and corruption involving named politicians and defence officials.
Who is SP Tyagi? What's his role in the entire matter? (Read detailed profile here)
SP Tyagi was the Chief in 2004 when IAF agreed to lower the maximum altitude ceiling from 6ooo m to 4500 m.
In its findings the CBI claimed, that back in 2004, Sanjeev, Rajiv and Sandeep - all cousins of SP Tyagi, who had acquaintance with Guido Hashke and Carlo Gerosa and entered into a consultancy contract with Gordian Services Sarl, in Tunisia.
Gordian Services belonged to Haske and Gerosa, both of whom stand accused in the scam.
The agency found out that amounts of 1,26,000 Euros after May 2004 and 2 lakh Euro after Feb 2005 camouflaged as consultancy fee was paid to Tyagi brothers and some of the money was allegedly paid off to AFM Tyagi himself.
Latest development in the scam investigation (Full story)
The scam rose to headline once again on Friday after SP Tyagi was formally arrested along with his two aides for the deal. Following are main observations made by the CBI:
# All 3 accused arrested under Section 120B, Section 420 IPC & Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988; were called for questioning at CBI HQ: CBI
# Probe reveals undue favour was shown, AgustaWestland Ltd accepted illegal vendors through middlemen/relatives including Sanjeev Tyagi etc: CBI
# Total deal amount in AgustaWestland was Rs 3767 Crore and bribe amount was 12% of main amount: CBI