A Delhi court on Saturday sent former Air Force Chief S P Tyagi, arrested in Rs 450 crore Agusta Westland bribery case in procurement of 12 VVIP helicopters, to police custody for four days after the CBI said he was needed to be quizzed to unearth a “very large conspiracy having international ramifications”.
His cousin Sanjeev Tyagi alias Julie and advocate Gautam Khaitan, also accused in the procurement of VVIP choppers from the UK-based company during UPA-2 regime, were also sent to police custody till December 14.
Metropolitan Magistrate Sujit Saurabh sent them to CBI custody saying their custodial interrogation was required for a “fair probe” in the case.
During the proceedings, CBI sought 10 days’ custody saying it was a “very large conspiracy having international ramifications”.
However, the counsel appearing for the accused, opposed CBI’s plea saying FIR in the case was registered over three years ago and there was no fresh ground for the arrests now.
Senior advocate N Hariharan, who appeared for the former IAF chief, claimed that the decision to procure 12 VVIP choppers from AgustaWestland was a “collective” one and the Prime Minister Office (PMO) was also a part of it.
“It was a collective decision and not his (Tyagi’s) individual one. It was a collective decision of which PMO was also a part,” he told the court.
Air Chief Arup Raha today described the arrest of former IAF chief S P Tyagi as “unfortunate”, and said that it has “dented” the force’s reputation.
“Very unfortunate that such an episode has taken place. It does dent our reputation as a professional force. But we believe in the rule of law,” Raha told reporters at a function at the city airport.
“I am sure every Indian citizen believes in rule of law and the due process is on,” he said , adding “whatever is the final verdict we will go by that”.
He refused to speak further on the issue, saying the matter is sub-judice. In a sudden and first-of-its-kind action, CBI yesterday arrested Tyagi, his cousin Sanjeev, and lawyer Gautam Khaitan in the sensational Rs 450 crore Agusta Westland bribery case in procurement of 12 VVIP helicopters.
71-year old Tyagi, who retired in 2007, was called for questioning at CBI Headquarters along with his cousin and Khaitan, who were taken into custody after nearly four hours of grilling, CBI sources said.
These are the first arrests in the case by CBI, three years after it registered an FIR in 2013 to probe the allegations in the aftermath of the details of the scam emerged in Italy where the prosecutors levelled allegations of corruption in the deal against the chief of Finmeccanica, the parent company of Agusta Westland.