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Court summons ex-IAF chief Tyagi, others in chopper deal case

A court here on Wednesday issued summons to former Indian Air Force chief S.P. Tyagi and others in the multi-million dollar AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter deal case.

After taking cognisance of the charge sheet, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge Arvind Kumar issued the summons, asking them to appear in court on December 20.

Those issued summons included Tyagi’s cousin Sanjeev alias Julie, then IAF Vice Chief J.S. Gujral, advocate Gautam Khaitan, Italian company Finmeccanica, its subsidiary AgustaWestland, and IDS Infotech.

The companies will be represented by their authorised representatives.

The court also issued fresh open-ended non-bailable warrants against alleged middlemen Christian Michel and Guido Haschke.

The CBI on September 1 filed a charge sheet against Tyagi, Sanjeev, Gujral, Khaitan, Italian defence and aerospace major Finmeccanica’s former chief Giuseppe Orsi, former AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini and three European alleged middleman Christian Michel, Guido Haschke, and Carlo Gerosa.

Orsi and Spagnolini have already been sentenced by an Italian court for bribing Indian officials to get the contract illegally.

Tyagi, who was the Indian Air Force chief from 2004 to 2007, his brother Sanjeev and Khaitan were allegedly involved in irregularities in the procurement of 12 AW-101 VVIP helicopters from Britain-based AgustaWestland.

They were arrested in December last year by the agency in connection with the case. Currently, they are out on bail.

The CBI, which registered an FIR in the case on March 12, 2013, has alleged that Tyagi and other accused received kickbacks from AgustaWestland to help the manufacturer win the contract. The FIR mentioned charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating, and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The CBI said the company was favoured in lieu of illegal gratification accepted through different companies in the name of consultancy services.

Tyagi, the CBI alleged, took bribes of several crores of rupees through middlemen and a complex route of companies in several countries from AgustaWestland to change the specifications of the contract — reducing the operational flight ceiling from originally proposed 6,000 metres to 4,500 metres and bringing down the cabin height to 1.8 metres.

The CBI probe allegedly revealed that several payments were made to the Tyagi brothers by the European middlemen as bribery.