The CBI on Friday filed a chargesheet against former IAF Chief S P Tyagi and nine others in AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case in a Delhi court. The charge sheet filed before Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar also named the others including Tyagi’s cousin Sanjeev alias Julie and advocate Gautam Khaitan in the Rs 450 crore chopper deal bribery case.
CBI had alleged that Khaitan was the “brain” behind how the bribe money reached India and several firms, through which the money travelled, came into existence and that Sanjeev was known to alleged European middleman Carlo Gerosa.
71-year old S P Tyagi was arrested by CBI on December 9 last year along with Sanjeev Tyagi and Khaitan in the case relating to alleged irregularities in the procurement of 12 VVIP choppers from UK-based AgustaWestland during the UPA-2 regime. He was later granted bail by the trial court on December 26.
Tyagi had retired as IAF chief in 2007. S P Tyagi is the first Chief of the Indian Air Force to be named in a corruption or a criminal case by the CBI. Others named in the chargesheet include alleged European middlemen in the deal, Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke.
The FIR also names former AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini, former Finmeccanica Chairman Giuseppe Orsi and the Anglo-Italian company, AgustaWestland, as accused in the case.
CBI has alleged that during his tenure as Air Chief, Tyagi and, with his approval the Air Force, conceded to reduce the service ceiling for VVIP helicopters from 6000 metres to 4500 metres as mandatory, which it had been earlier vehemently opposing on the grounds of security constraints and other reasons.
CBI has claimed that the reduction of the service ceiling, or the maximum height at which a helicopter can perform normally, allowed AgustaWestland to come into the fray as, otherwise, its helicopters were not qualified for submission of the bids.
It also alleged that AgustaWestland had managed to introduce a comparative flight trial with non-functional engines and eventually succeeded in getting the contract for supply of 12 AW-101 VVIP Helicopters from the Defence Ministry, mainly due to softening of the IAF on the service ceiling issue after S P Tyagi took over as its Chief.
With inputs from PTI.