A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Friday reserved its judgment on the bail plea of former Air Chief SP Tyagi and two others. Special judge Arvind Kumar is likely to pronounce his order on Monday. He reserved the order after hearing arguments from the CBI, which told the court that it had “oral and documentary evidence” that Tyagi had received money for “facilitating and abetting” the Agusta Westland chopper deal.
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Additional Solicitor General Tusshar Mehta, who appeared for the CBI, declined to submit detailed arguments on the merits of the case and the status of the investigation. He told the court that the case involved “multilayered, complex investigation in more than one jurisdiction”. He added that the agency was aware that the accused were “high ranking persons”, who could not have been “arrested haphazardly”.
Mehta pointed out that the witnesses and evidence had been collected “within the last five months”. He added that they could not be revealed during the hearing as they would “reveal the line of investigation” and were likely to “forewarn” witnesses yet to be examined.
Mehta noted that there were “four or five agencies involved” in taking the decision during a March 2005 meeting to change criteria for the choppers, and “others were in line to be interrogated”. According to reports, Tyagi had revealed that “PMO officials” had been involved in the decision-making process to change the criteria for awarding the contract.
Mehta alleged that evidence suggested that the change in the operational criteria was “finalised by the Air Headquarters where unauthorised changes (were made) in the Operational Requirements with knowledge and connivance of the accused’’.
The CBI insisted that there was a likelihood of tampering of witnesses and evidence while opposing bail for the accused. Mehta argued that Tyagi and other two accused had been “made aware of the evidence and witnesses during interrogation”.
Tyagi’s lawyer, Menaka Guruswamy, argued that the agency was “violating constitutional principles” by refusing to give details of the evidence against the accused.