New Delhi, Dec 26: Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Arup Raha expressed disappointment over AgustaWestland scam, saying that it has dented the image of the force. Tyagi also doubted the role of former IAF chief SP Tyagi’s role in the scandal in a veiled manner. Raha reiterated that Tyagi was professional in his conduct and he ‘would be happy if Tyagi could acquit himself in the case’. The statement of Raha was reported by NDTV hours after Tyagi was granted bail.
Ex Air Chief’s arrest hurts morale, Raha reportedly said, further adding that the image of Air Force has been dented. NDTV also reported Raha as saying that Tyagi, being the former chief of IAF, should not had been placed among the common criminals.
SP Tyagi was arrested on December 9 in connection with the AgustaWestland scam. Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) reportedly found incrementing evidence against the ex-IAF chief. He is accused of deliberately mending the operational requirements during process of awarding contracts. Tyagi, allegedly after receiving kickbacks from middlemen linked to Finmeccanica, reduced the flying ceiling from 6,000 metres to 4,500.
Tyagi has denied altering the requirements after being offered a bribe. The former IAF chief claims that the decision was taken by the then PMO.
The contract was awarded in 2010. Manmohan Singh-led UPA government ordered 12 AW101 VVIP choppers from AgustaWestland. However, the contract was cancelled in 2013, after an Italian court found that AgustaWestland officials bribed Indian officials and politicians to bag the contract. Subsequently, the government ordered a CBI inquiry in the matter.