The CBI on Friday arrested former IAF chief S P Tyagi, who is accused of receiving kick-backs in the multi-million AgustaWestland chopper deal case.
The agency also arrested Gautam Khaitan, a Delhi-based lawyer and Sanjeev Tyagi alias Julie Tyagi in connection with the case.
Sources said they will be produced in court on Saturday.
The development marks the first ever arrest of a former service chief.
Retired Air Marshal Tyagi is accused of helping AgustaWestland win the Rs. 3,600 crore chopper contract by tailoring specifications.
SP Tyagi was also questioned by ED this year in connection with the probe. ED is also probing the case based on CBI FIR.
The CBI claims Tyagi illegally approved reducing service ceiling — the maximum altitude that a helicopter can climb under normal circumstances — of helicopters for VVIPs from the mandatory 6,000 metres to 4,500 metres when he was air chief. Reducing the service ceiling allowed AgustaWestland, the British subsidiary of the Italian firm Finmeccanica to bid.
The CBI said that all the three people have been arrested for accepting illegal gratification for exercising influence through corrupt or illegal means. “They were arrested on the allegations of who accepted illegal gratification for exercising influence through corrupt or illegal means,” said the CBI.
He took over as the Indian Air Force chief on December 31, 2005, and retired from service in 2007.
Reacting immediately after the arrest, BJP spokesperson Zafar Islam lauded CBI for the arrests. “The CBI has shown their responsibility by arresting them. There is zero-tolerance against corruption. People involved in malafide transactions won’t be spared,” he said.
Tyagi has denied any wrongdoing.
On January 1, 2014, India cancelled a contract with AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW101 choppers to the Indian Air Force (IAF) over suspected breach of contractual terms and charges of paying bribe to the tune of Rs. 423 crore for the deal.