AgustaWestland VVIP Chopper Scam: Delhi Court Grants Bail to Former IAF Chief, Tyagi and Others

AgustaWestland VVIP Chopper Scam: Delhi Court Grants Bail to Former IAF Chief, Tyagi and Others

New Delhi, September 12: The Patiala House Court's Special Judge Arvind Kumar on Wednesday, granted bail to former Air Force Chief SP Tyagi and others in a multi crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam of over Rs. 3,600-crore.

The Court, however, directed them to furnish a bail bond of Rs. 1 lakh along with one surety of the same amount.

Italian middlemen Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke and firms failed to appear for the hearing and thus were not granted bail.

The ED, registered a case in 2014 and had named 21 people, including a former IAF chief. During the course of investigation, it connected the dots of the money trail that was used to route the kickbacks to the beneficiaries of the scam and informed the court that it has enough evidence to prosecute all the accused persons.

On July 18, ED filed a supplementary charge sheet, accusing Orsi, Spagnolini and ex-IAF chief S P Tyagi, and others.

In July itself, the court after taking cognizance of the chargesheet had issued summon against former AgustaWestland and Finmeccanica directors Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini, Tyagi and others accused in the case. The Court also issued fresh non-bailable warrants against Italian middlemen Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke and Rajeev Saxena, a Dubai based businessman.

The court also summoned Tyagi's cousins, lawyer Khaitan and his wife Ritu Khaitan, Rajeev Saxena and his wife Shivani Saxena, the directors of Dubai-based accused firms UHY Saxena and Matrix Holdings, O P Khaitan and Co., International Mediterranean Consulting, Tunisia Aeromatrix Info Solution Ltd, Windsor Group Holdings, Ismax International Ltd, Cricklewood Ltd, Long Lasting Ltd, Infotech Design Systems Gordian Services, Finmeccanica SPA and AgustaWestland.

The issue pertains to the contract signed by India to purchase 12 AgustaWestland AW101 helicopters in February 2010 for the Communication Squadron of Indian Air Force to carry the President, Prime Minister and other VVIPs.

In 2013, following the arrest of Giuseppe Orsi, the CEO of Finmeccanica, Agusta Westland's parent company, by Italian authorities, Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony ordered a probe into the contract.

The probe began into allegations of bribery and corruption accusing several Indian politicians and military senior officials and a helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland surrounding the purchase of a fleet of helicopters.

In 2014, India scrapped the contract with AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers over breach of contractual obligations and charges of kickbacks of Rs. 423 crore paid by it to win the deal.

It was alleged that the politicians and officials as well, accepted bribes from AgustaWestland in order to win the  Rs. 36 billion Indian contract for the supply of 12 AgustaWestland AW101 helicopters, which were intended to perform VVIP duties for the President of India and other important state officials.

In 2016, the Milan Court of Appeal, overturned a lower court verdict and convicted AgustaWestland's executive Giuseppe Orsi to four years' imprisonment for paying a €30 million bribe to Indian politicians, bureaucrats and Indian Air Force officials. However, the Italian Supreme Court of Cassazione cancelled the conviction sentence, and ordered a retrial of the issue in Milan.

The third Court of Appeals of Milan eventually, this year, has acquitted the defendants on all charges.

In India, the CBI was pursuing the case and arrested former Indian Air Force Chief S.P. Tyagi, his cousin Sanjeev Tyagi and lawyer Gautam Khaitan in 2017.

The agency claimed that the deal was worth Rs 3,767 crore, out of which 12% was paid in bribes.

In 2017, the CBI had also filed a formal chargesheet against S.P. Tyagi and nine others.

Agusta Westlland Chopper Scam
Enforcement Directorate (ED)
Indian air Force (IAF)
Patiala House Court

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