New Delhi: Former Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief SP Tyagi on Wednesday denied reports that he was bribed in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal and said a CBI probe could establish the facts.

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The Indian Express reported that the allegation against Tyagi was made in a preliminary inquiry report filed by prosecutors in Italy on Tuesday.

The Indian defence ministry on Tuesday ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the $750 million deal for 12 VVIP AgustaWestland helicopters following the arrest of its Italian manufacturer Finmeccanica's chief on charges of graft in the contract.

"It is shocking for me and I am sure it is shocking for everybody... it's bad news for the entire air force, it's horrifying," Tyagi told a TV channel."The charge was I was bribed to tweak a change in requirement to suit AgustaWestland. Changes are not made by the Air Headquarters... final changes have to be approved by the minister of defence. Air Headquarters can recommend it. But to the best of my knowledge Air Headquarters have not recommended any changes. I am shocked... I have no clue what this is all about," he said.

  • IAF had sought AgustaWestland choppers for its elite Communication Squadron
  • The contract for the helicopters was signed in February 2010
  • First helicopter was delivered in December 2010
  • The size of the helicopter deal was valued Rs 3600 crore

  • Rs 362 crore were allegedly paid as kickbacks to ensure AgustaWestland won the contract
  • Finmeccanica's (manufacturer of AgustaWestland) chief Giuseppe Orsi arrested on 12th February 2013
  • Indian government orders CBI probe after arrest of Finmeccanica's chief  on 12th February 2013
  • Former IAF Chief SP Tyagi under scanner

Favouring a CBI probe, he said, "There should be an inquiry, only then can the facts be established."

This is not the first time that allegations over the helicopter deal have surfaced. Three of the helicopters have already been delivered to the IAF, the first of them in December 2010.The contract for the helicopters had been signed in February 2010.

The IAF has sought the AgustaWestland choppers as a replacement for its Mi-17 cargo helicopters that have been modified for VVIP deployment. The Comptroller and Auditor General had made an adverse comment, saying it was a waste of resources.


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