A Delhi court has allowed the plea of two family members of former IAF chief S.P. Tyagi, accused in the Rs. 3600 crore VVIP helicopter deal scam, to defreeze their bank accounts subject to certain conditions.
Special CBI Judge Ravinder Kaur gave a conditional relief to former Air Chief’s family members Anurag Tyagi and Vandana Tyagi, saying their accounts will be defreezed by the banks on furnishing a bond of over Rs. 19 lakh and a little over Rs. two lakh respectively with an undertaking to produce the amount as and when required by the court.
“In the facts and circumstances of the case, applicant Anurag Tyagi is directed to furnish bond in the sum of Rs. 19,39,785, undertaking to produce the said amount as and when required by the court.
“Subject to furnishing this undertaking, directions be issued to the manager of the banks to release the freezed account nos. of applicant Anurag Tyagi,” the court said.
It also said, “Similarly, applicant Vandana Tyagi is also directed to furnish bond in the sum of Rs. 2,10,581 undertaking to produce the said amount as and when required by the court.
“Subject to furnishing this undertaking, directions be issued to the manager to release the freezed account no. of applicant Vandana Tyagi.”
Both Mr. Anurag and Ms. Vandana had sought defreezing of their bank accounts which they could not operate following directions by the CBI.
Their counsel had submitted that both the applicants are not named as accused in the FIR and there is no incriminating evidence on record against them.
CBI prosecutor V.K. Sharma had not opposed the plea saying that the accounts of both Ms. Vandana and Mr. Anurag were seized as they are the family members of Mr. Tyagi.
The former Air Chief, his cousins — Sanjeev alias Julie, Rajeev alias Docsa and Sandeep, European middlemen Carlo Gerosa, Christian Michel and Guido Haschke are among 13 individuals named in the CBI FIR as accused.
Chandigarh-based Aeromatrix Info Solutions Private Limited and its CEO Praveen Bakshi are also accused in the case. Legal advisor and former board member of accused firm IDS Infotech — Gautam Khaitan and Bakshi had allegedly routed bribe money to the Tyagis, CBI had alleged.
The CBI in its FIR has booked all the accused under the provisions of the IPC relating to cheating and criminal conspiracy and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Shashi Tyagi is the first Chief of the Indian Air Force to be named in a corruption or criminal case by the CBI.
CBI has alleged that during his tenure as Air Chief, Mr. Tyagi and “with his approval” the Air Force “conceded to reduce the service ceiling for VVIP helicopters from 6000 meters to 4500 meters as mandatory” to which it was opposing vehemently on the grounds of security constraints and other related reasons.
CBI has said that reduction of service ceiling — maximum height at which a helicopter can perform normally — allowed U.K.-based AgustaWestland to come into the fray as, otherwise, its helicopters were not even qualified for submission of bids.
CBI also alleged that AgustaWestland managed to introduce a comparative flight trial with non-functional engine and eventually succeeded in getting the contract for supply of 12 AW-101 VVIP Helicopters from the Defence Ministry mainly due to softening of the IAF on service ceiling after Mr. Tyagi took over as its Chief.
Two new names, which were not part of the agency’s preliminary enquiry, have also been included in the FIR. They include brother of former Union Minister Santosh Bagrodia, Satish Bagrodia, and Pratap Aggarwal, Chairman and Managing Director of IDS Infotech respectively, they said.
Six companies including Italy-based Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland, Mohali-based IDS Infotech, Aeromatrix, IDS Tunisia and IDS Mauritius have been booked by CBI in its FIR.
Besides Mr. Bakshi, former Finmeccanica Chairman Giuseppe Orsi, former AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini and legal advisor and former board member of IDS Infotech Gautam Khaitan are also named as accused.
All the accused have refuted allegations against them.