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Tyagi, 2 others seek bail in VVIP chopper scam case

AgustaWestland Chopper

    
New Delhi : Former IAF chief S P Tyagi today sought bail from a special court on the ground that there was no apprehension of him fleeing from justice as all evidences in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam case were documentary in nature and have already been seized by the CBI.

“Please let me (Tyagi) go home,” Tyagi’s counsel urged before the Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar who put up the matter for further hearing on December 23.

The court heard the arguments from the counsel of Tyagi, his cousin Sanjeev Tyagi and lawyer Gautam Khaitan, all three accused in the case, and adjourned the matter after the probe agency said it needed time to argue on the bail pleas.

While seeking relief, Tyagi’s advocate Maneka Guruswamy said “my client cannot languish in jail for an indefinite period for no reason… He has voluntarily cooperated to the best of his abilities. My client has appeared on every date (when he was) summoned by CBI and even without the summons. All evidences are documentary in nature and already in the custody of CBI.”

She also told the court that Italy’s top court has ordered retrial of ex-Finmeccanica executives in the chopper scam case which makes CBI’s stand weak in the current case.

“Even his wife, daughter, daughter-in-law and her mother were called by the probe agency and interrogated even before his arrest,” the counsel said.

Advocate Pramod Kumar Dubey, appearing for Khaitan, also sought the relief claiming that the “allegations against me (Khaitan) is of money trail and that part is already being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). I cannot be put in jail twice for the same offence… They (CBI) have encroached my personal liberty for nothing.”

Sanjeev Tyagi’s counsel too sought bail, saying “if granted the relief, my client will not try to flee from the justice and tamper with the evidences.”

The court had     on December 17 sent all the three accused to the judicial custody till December 30.

71-year old Tyagi, who had retired in 2007, his cousin Sanjeev and Khaitan were arrested on December 9 by the agency in connection with the case. The accused have alleged that the “CBI was trying to extract the confession using force”.

The defence counsel also claimed that there was no apprehension of them fleeing from the justice or tampering with evidence.

“My client is a 72-year-old decorated war hero. He suffers from heart and eye diseases and several other ailments. He has deep roots in the society after 44 years of distinguished career,” S P Tyagi’s counsel said.

The case relates to procurement of 12 VVIP choppers from UK-based firm during the UPA-2 regime.

The CBI had said it was a “very serious” and “a very high-profile” case requiring interrogation to unearth larger conspiracy as the “interest of the nation was compromised”. It had submitted that “one part of the crime was committed in India while various other angles are in foreign land.”

Tyagi’s counsel had earlier claimed that the decision to procure VVIP choppers from AgustaWestland was a “collective” one and Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) was also a part of it.

CBI had alleged that Tyagi had “abused his official position” and when he was the Air Chief Marshal, he had made huge investments in land and other properties and had not disclosed the source his income.

It was also alleged that Khaitan was the “brain” behind how the bribe money reached India and how several firms through which the money travelled came into existence, while Sanjeev was known to the alleged European middleman Carlo Gerosa.

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