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VVIP chopper scam: IAF ex-chief’s custody extended to Dec 17

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Dec 15, 2016, 3:24 am IST
Updated : Dec 15, 2016, 6:59 am IST

The agency said that their further custodial interrogation was required to get to the bottom of the conspiracy.

Former Air Force Chief S.P. Tyagi
 Former Air Force Chief S.P. Tyagi

New Delhi: A Delhi court extended on Wednesday the CBI custody of former IAF chief S.P. Tyagi and two other co-accused till December 17 after the probe agency told the court that the VVIP chopper scam was a very serious case and that Mr Tyagi and others were required for further interrogation to unearth any larger conspiracy, as the interests of the nation was compromised.

The probe agency had requested the court to grant them seven days custody of the accused. But the court, after hearing the arguments of both sides, granted only three days custody to CBI.

Mr Tyagi, along with his cousin Sanjeev, alias Julie, and advocate Gautam Khaitan, was produced before special CBI judge Arvind Kumar after the expiry of their custody.

The CBI had sought extension of their custody by seven days, saying that it was a very wide and serious case with some accused and firms from abroad also involved in the conspiracy.

“It is a very high-profile case and we need proper material. One part of the crime was committed in India while various other angles are in foreign land,” the CBI said, noting that it has received help from various countries including Italy, Mauritius, Switzerland and the UK.

The agency said that their further custodial interrogation was required to get to the bottom of the conspiracy.

However, the counsel appearing for Mr Tyagi opposed the CBI’s plea, saying that he was “a decorated war hero of the nation” and “CBI, which was termed as ‘a caged parrot’ by the Supreme Court, is trying to tarnish his image”.

“The FIR only says that the ex-ACM ‘also’ received some amount of cash. It is just a vague allegation,” Mr Tyagi’s counsel said.

The court had on December 10 sent the three accused to four days’ CBI custody, which expired today, in the case related to procurement of 12 VVIP choppers from UK-based firm during the UPA-2 regime.

During the last hearing, Tyagi’s counsel had claimed that the decision to procure VVIP choppers from AgustaWestland was a “collective” one and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) was also a part of it.

CBI had alleged that Tyagi had “abused his official position” and when he was the Air Chief Marshal, he had made huge investments in land and other properties and had not disclosed the source his income.

Tyagi’s counsel had refuted CBI’s claim, saying, “As per the allegations, conspiracy and money transaction were going on much before my client came into picture.”

The counsel appearing for the other two arrested accused had also opposed CBI’s case saying the FIR was lodged over three years ago and there were no fresh grounds to arrest them at this stage. CBI, however, had alleged that Khaitan was the “brain” behind how the bribe money reached India and several firms through which the money travelled came into existence and Sanjeev was known to alleged European middleman Carlo Gerosa. 71-year old Tyagi, who had retired in 2007, his cousin Sanjeev and Khaitan were arrested on December 9 by the agency in connection with the case.

Tags: s.p. tyagi, cbi, vvip chopper scam, agustawestland scam
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi