Former Air Force Chief SP Tyagi and eight others have been charged by the CBI for bribery in the 2010 AgustaWestland VVIP chopper bribery scandal that came to light during a probe by Italian authorities.
SP Tyagi is the first Chief of the Indian Air Force to be named in a corruption or a criminal case by the CBI. The officer, who headed the Air Force between 2004 and 2007, has been accused by investigators of helping AgustaWestland win the Rs 3,600 crore chopper deal by tailoring specifications at the instance of his cousin.
The 72-year-old officer was arrested in December last year. He was, however, released on bail within weeks.
The 30,000-page charge sheet filed in a Delhi court on Friday also named Air Marshal JS Gujral (retd.) who had retired as deputy chief of air staff in charge of procurements.
The nine accused including names former AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini have been charged with offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, conspiracy and cheating. Mr Tyagi's cousin Sanjeev Tyagi and advocate Gautam Khaitan have also been charged in the bribery case apart from five foreign nationals.
The supply of 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland had come under scanner after Italian authorities alleged that bribes were paid by the company to clinch the Rs. 3,600 crore deal.
According to the CBI, about 62 million Euros (Rs 450 crores) had been paid for the deal. Sources told NDTV that the CBI had been able to trace how the bribe was paid through shell companies in six countries including Mauritius, Singapore, UAE and Tunisia.
It has alleged that the illegal gratification was brought into India unbder the guise of several consultant contracts European company with group of shell companies created by Khaitan.
The contracts were only "subterfuge" and a mere mode to transfer the illegal gratification for payment the public servants, the CBI claimed in its chargesheet.