New Delhi, Dec 10: Former Indian Air Force (IAF) chief SP Tyagi was arrested on Friday by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for his alleged role in the AgustaWestland scam. SP Tyagi will be produced before court today by the CBI. The central probe agency would attempt to seek his custody for at least the next few days. CBI is expected to list incrementing leads against Tyagi in the court today. The bench would decide whether Tyagi would be remain under custody.

The AgustaWestland scam dates back to the UPA era, when the Manmohan Singh government procured VVIP choppers from British company AgustaWestland, which was a subsidiary of Italy’s Finmeccanica. The deal was worth Rs 3,767 crores, as reported by IANS quoting CBI spokesperson Devpreet Singh. Nearly 12 percent of the deal amount was paid as bribe to secure the contract. According to reports, the total amount paid as bribe by AgustaWestland, through middlemen, is approximately Rs 434 crores.

SP Tyagi, who was the then IAF chief, is accused lowering the flying ceiling as originally laid down in the operational requirement, in order to make AgustaWestland eligible for the deal. The flying ceiling was kept at 6,000 metres originally. This was reportedly lowered to 4,500 metres (15,000 feet) to suit AgustaWestland. According to accusations, Tyagi allegedly received kickbacks for reducing the flying ceiling.

By changing the operational requirements, Tyagi made AgustaWestland eligible to participate in the Request For Proposal (RFP) for VVIP choppers. The contract was subsequently awarded to AgustaWestland. Tyagi has, however, denied the charges saying that the decision was taken in full consultation with the Prime Minister’s Office.

Along with Tyagi, his Sanjeev Tyagi alias Julie Tyagi and a Delhi-based lawyer Gautam Khaitan were also arrested. The chargesheet filed by CBI names 16 individuals, including the middlemen Guido Ralph Haschke, Carlo Valentino, Ferdinando Gerosa and Christian Mitchell. Aprt from Tyagi, Sanjeev and Khaitan, other major Indian names included in the FIR are -Praveen Bakshi, CEO of Aeromatrix Info Solution Pvt Ltd; Satish Bagrodia, chairman of IDS Infotech Ltd (India) and it’s Managing Director Partap K Aggarwal.