We should not make wild allegations against a former Air Chief, Mr Singh said.

As BJP raked up the issue of kickbacks in the VVIP chopper deal in a big way, its senior leader Jaswant Singh on Thursday came out in defence of former Air Chief S P Tyagi and said allegations should not be made against each other till the truth is known.

The former Defence Minister in the NDA government also admitted that parameters for purchase of these helicopters were changed on the directions of the then National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra but defended the decision saying it was done to avoid a single-vendor situation.

Mr. Singh said the guilty in the issue is an Italian company and people “have forgotten them”.

He favoured expeditious and thorough probe into the allegations of payment of kickbacks in the Rs 3600 crore deal.

“We should not make wild allegations against a former Air Chief. It is not in the interest of both the Air Force and the country. The probe is on. As Mr Tyagi himself is saying, the probe should be held early. Why don’t you agree to his suggestion,” Mr. Singh told reporters.

Supporting Mr. Tyagi, who has been accused of taking bribes in the deal through his cousins, Mr. Singh said one should be careful while alleging “guilt through association”.

“Don’t start judging people simply because of association or simply because the former Air Chief Marshal Tyagi has cousins who are also known as Tyagis,” he said.

The former Defence and External Affairs Minister cited his own example in this regard, saying, “One of my own cousins, first cousin, he was known as a smuggler. Does that make me a smuggler. If another relative of mine commits a crime, does that make me a criminal.”

Mr. Singh said, “we should not make allegations against each other” till the truth is known.

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