AgustaWestland chopper case: Former Air Force chief SP Tyagi arrested

Former Air Force chief SP Tyagi was on Friday arrested in connection with the AgustaWestland chopper case.

Besides Tyagi, businessman Gautam Khaitan and Delhi-based lawyer Sanjeev alias Julie Tyagi have also been arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

According to the CBI, all the three people have been arrested on the allegations accepting illegal gratification for exercising influence through corrupt and or illegal means. The accused have been arrested under Section 120B, Section 420 IPC & Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988; were called for questioning at CBI headquarters.

The CBI in its probe found that AgustaWestland received undue favours to clinch the deal. Tyagi is accused by the investigators of allegedly helping chopper manufacturing firm AgustaWestland clinch the Rs 3,600 crore deal by changing some specifications to favour his cousins.

In 2013, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government inked a deal with UK-based AgustaWestland for procuring 12 AW101 choppers meant for the Indian Air Force. These helicopters were purchased for ferrying the President, Prime Minister as well as other VVIPs.

However, the company’s CEO and Agusta’s parent firm Finmeccanica were arrested by the Italian police  in February that year for allegedly paying bribe to win the Rs 3,600 crore chopper deal. Meanwhile, the CBI registered a FIR against 12 people including Tyagi in connection with the case.

In February 2014, the UPA government terminated the agreement. Later that year, Khaitan was arrested in connection with allegations of paying kickbacks for the deal. Following a spate of arrests that year, the CBI finally began questioning Tyagi in May this year.