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AgustaWestland case: Court summons former IAF chief Tyagi

By Deepika

Patiala House court on Wednesday issued summons to former Indian Air Force chief SP Tyagi and others in AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter deal case.

SP Tyagi

The court issued the summons asking them to appear before him on December 20. It also issued non bailable warrant against 3 foreign nationals, namely GR Heshke, CV Gerosa and CM James in the case.

On September 1, the Central Bureau of Investigation filed a chargesheet against retired Air Chief Marshal S P Tyagi, former Air Marshal JS Gujral and 10 others in the ₹3,700 crore AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter case.

Running into 30,000 pages, the chargesheet, filed before a special court, also named as accused Air Chief Marshal Tyagi's cousin Sanjeev Tyagi, lawyer Gautam Khaitan, alleged middlemen Christian Michel, Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke, former AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini and former Finmeccanica chairman Giuseppe Orsi.

The agency has invoked Sections 420 (cheating) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, read with various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, against the accused.

It charged that Tyagi not only lowered the service ceiling requirement of the helicopter from 6,000 to 4,500 metres but also revised the operational requirements.

The case

The scam is about a contract, signed undet the UPA regime, to purchase 12 Agusta Westland AW-101 helicopters in February, 2010 for the Communication Squadron of Indian Air Force to carry the President, Prime Minister and other VVIPs.

Controversy over the contract came to light on February, 12. 2013 with the arrest of Giuseppe Orsi, the CEO of Finmeccanica, Agusta Westland's parent company by Italian authorities, the following day former defence minister AK Antony ordered a probe into the contract.

The deal was rejected in 2002 as the choppers were unable to fly at an altitude of 6,000 metres. However, in 2005 the same was revised to 4,500 metres. Tyagi had told the CBI that the decision was taken in consultation with officials in the PMO and also the Special Protection Group.

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