The CBI on Friday arrested former IAF Chief SP Tyagi and his cousin Sanjeev alias Julie Tyagi and lawyer-businessman Gautam Khaitan in connection with the Rs. 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter deal.
According to sources, the accused were allegedly involved in corruption while procuring VVIP helicopters in 2005.
In February, 2013, Italian investigators first made allegations that the Tyagis received bribes to swing the deal in favor of AgustaWestland – a UK-based private company – by tweaking technical requirements of the tender.
“It was alleged that Chief of Air Staff (CAS) entered into criminal conspiracy with other accused persons and in 2005, conceded to change IAF’s consistent stand that service ceiling of VVIP helicopters at 6000 meters was an inescapable operational necessity and reduced the same to 4500 meters. Such changes in Operational Requirements (ORs) made the private company based at UK, eligible to participate in the RFP (request for proposal) for VVIP helicopters,” the CBI said in a statement.
“It was revealed during investigation that such undue favours were allegedly shown to the said UK-based private company by accepting the illegal gratifications from the accused vendors through middlemen/relatives including his cousin and an advocate etc. who accepted the illegal gratification for exercising influence through illegal means, or using personal influence over the concerned public servants,” the statement added.
The UPA government had entered into contract with AgustaWestland International Ltd (AWIL) in February, 2010 to procure 12 AW 101 VVIP helicopters at an aggregated price of Rs 3726.96 crore. However, the government cancelled the contract in January, 2014 “on grounds of breach of the pre-contract integrity pact and the agreement” by AWIL.
The arrested accused will be produced in a Delhi court on Saturday.