AgustaWestland Controversy: CBI Questions Former IAF Chief SP Tyagi

02/05/2016 3:34 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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GURGAON, INDIA - FEBRUARY 13: Former Indian Air Force chief Air Marshal SP Tyagi at his home in Sector 23 A on February 13, 2013 in Gurgaon, India. SP Tyagi was IAF chief from 2004 to 2007 and allegations are raised that the Italian company had bribed him to swing the VVIP chopper deal in its favour. Another scam unfolded with the arrest of the head of a state-controlled Italian aerospace company Finmeccanica that is suspected of paying bribes of about Rs 362 crore in India to get orders for helicopters to ferry Indian VVIPs, prompting the government to order a CBI probe. (Photo by Manoj Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

NEW DELHI -- CBI today examined former IAF chief SP Tyagi in connection with alleged corruption in the ₹3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal.

Tyagi arrived at CBI headquarters at around 10 AM for questioning.

The Milan Court of Appeals -- equivalent of an Indian high Court -- has given details of how alleged bribes were paid by helicopter-maker Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland to Indian officials through middlemen to clinch the deal.

The order mentions the name of Tyagi at several points.

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

The allegation against the former Air Chief was that he had reduced flying ceiling of the helicopter from 6,000m to 4,500m (15,000 ft) so that AgustaWestland was included in the bids.

However, this decision was reportedly taken in consultation with the officials of SPG and the Prime Minister's Office including then NSA MK Narayanan.

CBI has alleged that the reduction of the service ceiling--maximum height at which a helicopter can perform normally--allowed the UK-based firm to get into the fray as otherwise its helicopters were not even qualified for submission of bids.

CBI which has received a copy of the Milan court order has now prepared a fresh set of questionnaire to put to Tyagi.

Tyagi has denied allegations against him and has claimed that the decision to reduce the ceiling was taken by a group of senior officials.

The agency had already questioned Tyagi but this session is the first after the Italian court order.

His cousins have also been called by the agency.

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Photographs by Nemai Ghosh


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