The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), on Friday, arrested the former Indian Air Force chief SP Tyagi for allegedly accepting bribe in the AgustaWestland chopper deal. Tyagi was arrested along with his cousin Sanjiv Tyagi and lawyer Gautam Khaitan. The deal dates back to February 2010 when the UPA government signed a contract with UK-based AgustaWestland to purchase 12 AW101 helicopters for the Air Force for an estimated Rs 3,600 crore The purpose of this deal was to have choppers fly VVIPs like the president, prime minister and others. However, in 2013, the deal was put on hold by the government after Bruno Spagnolin, CEO of AgustaWestland and Guiseppe Orsi, chairman of the Italian parent company Finmeccanica, were arrested on charges of bribing middlemen to acquire the deal with IAF.
The following day, then defence minister AK Antony ordered a probe into the matter.
Early in 2014, the Italian court investigating the chopper scam names former chief of the IAF, SP Tyagi in the scam, stating that he was bribed by Finmeccanica to sign the deal with AgustaWestland.
Here is a timeline of the AgustaWestland scam.
August 1999: The Indian Air force proposes to replace MI-8 helicopters which are used to carry VVIPs. A global search for the replacement begins.
November 2003: The then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee raises concerns over the deal citing 'single vendor' situation.
March 2005: The Ministry of Defence allegedly dilutes requirements for the chopper deal, enabling AgustaWestland to compete after recommendations from IAF.
September 2006: Manmohan Singh-led PMO raises the requirement of choppers from eight to 12.
January 2010: After years of deliberations and changes in a number of requirements, the Cabinet Committee on Security clears the deal for acquiring 12 VVIP choppers.
February 2010: The Ministry of Defence signs the deal with UK's AgustaWestland.
February 2012: Allegations of corruption while finalising the deal first surfaces in the Italian media. The Indian Embassy in Rome is told to submit a report on the allegations.
February 2013: Giuseppe Orsi, CEO of Finmeccanica, the parent firm of AgustaWestland gets arrested by the Italian police. This marks the first arrest in the case.
February 2013: The Ministry of Defence begins the process of cancelling the deal, also examines holding back the payment to AgustaWestland. It issues a show cause notice to AgustaWestland for breach of contract and integrity pact. CBI takes over case formally.
February 2013: CBI begins preliminary enquiry against ex-IAF chief SP Tyagi and 11 others.
March 2013: CBI files FIR against Tyagi and 12 others on charges of cheating and alleged criminal conspiracy in the VVIP chopper deal.
November 2013: The deadline for answering the show cause notice for AgustaWestland was 26 November. The company officials meet Ministry of Defence officials to give their side of the story. Justice BN Srikrishna is roped in as the arbitrator by AgustaWestland.
January 2014: UPA government formally scraps the deal with AgustaWestland.
September 2014: Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrests Gautam Khaitan on allegations of kickbacks in the 3,600 crore deal.
October 2014: An Italian lower court acquits Orsi and former AgustaWestland chairman Bruno Spagnolini.
April 2016: A Milan Court of Appeals sentences Orsi to four and half years and Spagnolini to four years in jail on charges of false accounting and bribing Indian officials including Tyagi.
April 2016: Christian James Michel, the middleman in the deal says he is willing to face Indian authorities for investigation. Michel writes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention. In his letter to Modi, the middleman also offers evidence related to the case with Indian investigating agencies. Michel, however, denies reports of him and his father being close to the Gandhi family.
May 2016: Former IAF chief SP Tyagi interrogated for his links with the middleman.
December 2016: CBI arrests SP Tyagi for alleged bribery charges and criminal conspiracy, marking the first-ever arrest of a former IAF chief.
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Updated Date: Dec 09, 2016 19:21:47 IST