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Published On: Mon, Dec 26th, 2016

Former IAF chief SP Tyagi granted bail, asked not to leave country

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557896-sp-tyagi-ptiNEW DELHI : A Delhi court on Monday granted bail to former Indian Air Force chief SP Tyagi arrested in AgustaWestland chopper deal case. Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special judge Arvind Kumar allowed Tyagi`s bail application and asked him to furnish a personal bond of Rs 2 lakh and surety of like amount.

Retired Air Marshal Tyagi, 71, was arrested along with his cousin Sanjeev Tyagi and lawyer Gautam Khaitan on December 10. He has been accused of abusing his official position to help Agusta Westland, a subsidiary of Italy-based Finmeccanica, win the deal to supply a dozen helicopters meant for the country’s top politicians.

Investigators in Italy and India allege that the former Air Chief tailored specifications at the instance of his cousins. He allegedly reduced the required flying height for VVIP choppers from 6,000 m to 4,500 m, which helped AgustaWestland qualify.

Air Marshal Tyagi claimed that the change of specifications was a collective decision involving many departments. Investigations have revealed that the Tyagis entered into a consultancy deal with middlemen in 2004, when Air Marshal Tyagi’s cousins were certain that he would be the next air force chief and in a position to influence the deal.

The chopper deal was cancelled in 2014 after Finmeccanica’s then chief executive, Giuseppe Orsi, was arrested on suspicion of paying bribes to secure the order.Retired Air Marshal Tyagi headed the Air Force between 2004 and 2007.

The court has further asked 72-year-old Tyagi not to leave the country. The court will pronounce an order on the bail applications of other accused – Sanjeev Tyagi and a Delhi-based lawyer Gautam Khaitan – on January 04.

The CBI had opposed the bail plea of the accused, saying they are persons of high ranking and if released on bail, they “may influence witnesses, destroy evidences, and hamper the ongoing probe which is at a very crucial stage”.

Tyagi — the first chief of any wing of the armed forces to be arrested in the country — and the others were allegedly involved in irregularities in the procurement of 12 AW-101 VVIP helicopters from Britain-based AgustaWestland. Tyagi, his cousin Sanjeev Tyagi and Gautam Khaitan were arrested on December 9 by the CBI.

 

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