AgustaWestland: CBI grills former IAF chief SP Tyagi

SansadTV Bureau
New Delhi: Former Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi arriving at the CBI headquarters in New Delhi on Monday, May 2, 2016 in connection with the alleged corruption in the 3,600 crore AgustaWestland choppers deal.  Photo: PTI

New Delhi: Former Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi arriving at the CBI headquarters in New Delhi on Monday, May 2, 2016 in connection with the alleged corruption in the 3,600 crore AgustaWestland choppers deal.
Photo: PTI

On Monday morning, the CBI questioned Former Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi in connection with the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal.

The CBI had registered a case against Tyagi along with 13 others including his cousins and European middlemen in the case.

It is alleged that hefty kickbacks were paid by helicopter-maker Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland to Indian officials through middlemen to clinch the Rs 3,600-crore deal.

The former Air Chief is alleged to have reduced the flying ceiling of the helicopter from 6,000m to 4,500m to make AgustaWestland eligible for the bidding.

Earlier this month the Milan Court of Appeals which is equivalent to an Indian High Court ruled that bribes were paid to Indians in the VVIP chopper deal. The court gave details of how bribes were paid and it is reported that Tyagi’s name was mentioned several times in the court order.

The CBI after having received a copy of the Milan court order is said to have a fresh set of questions for Tyagi.

However, Tyagi has denied all allegations. He has claimed that the decision to reduce the flying ceiling was taken by a group of senior officials.

CBI has already questioned several bureaucrats in connection with the case including former cabinet secretary B K Chaturvedi and Comptroller and Auditor General Shashikant Sharma who was the then Defence Secretary. Then SPG chief B V Wanchoo has also been questioned.

On Saturday the CBI questioned former IAF deputy chief JS Gujral for over eight hours.

So far, the CBI has maintained that Gujral, who was procurement chief in IAF in 2005, was questioned as a witness in 2013. But now there is no confirmation on if he retains the same status.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said he will place all facts along with the detailed chronology of events about the controversial deal before the Parliament on May 4.

“I challenge the Congress to show the UPA government’s order blacklisting the AgustaWestland company. Let them reply first why it was not banned. It was during our (NDA) government that we banned it,” Parrikar had said.