Ex-Air Chief SP Tyagi, Accused In VVIP Chopper Deal, Gets Bail


New Delhi: Former Air Force Chief SP Tyagi, arrested earlier this month over allegations of bribery in a contract to buy AgustaWestland VVIP choppers, has been granted bail on the condition that he will not leave Delhi or try to contact any witness in the case.

Retired Air Marshal Tyagi, 71, was arrested along with his cousin Sanjeev Tyagi and lawyer Gautam Khaitan on December 10. He has been accused of abusing his official position to help AgustaWestland, a subsidiary of Italy-based Finmeccanica, win the deal to supply a dozen helicopters meant for the country’s top politicians.

Investigators in Italy and India allege that the former Air Chief tailored specifications at the instance of his cousins. He allegedly reduced the required flying height for VVIP choppers from 6,000 m to 4,500 m, which helped AgustaWestland qualify.

Air Marshal Tyagi claimed that the change of specifications was a collective decision involving many departments.

Investigations have revealed that the Tyagis entered into a consultancy deal with middlemen in 2004, when Air Marshal Tyagi’s cousins were certain that he would be the next air force chief and in a position to influence the deal.

The chopper deal was cancelled in 2014 after Finmeccanica’s then chief executive, Giuseppe Orsi, was arrested on suspicion of paying bribes to secure the order.

Retired Air Marshal Tyagi headed the Air Force between 2004 and 2007.