AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam: HC Stops Ex-IAF Chief SP Tyagi From Travelling to Indonesia

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today stayed a trial court order allowing former IAF chief SP Tyagi, a key accused in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam, to travel to Indonesia.

Decrying the “special treatment” given to Mr Tyagi, Justice IS Mehta said, “I do not understand, why the accused persons always want to travel abroad…why should he (Tyagi) be given the special treatment.”

Staying the trial court order till July 12, it agreed to the contention of the CBI that the former 71-year-old IAF chief, who is on bail, may tamper with the ongoing probe in the case.

The court, which is hearing CBI’s appeal against granting bail to Mr Tyagi and two other accused in the case said, “You (Tyagi) are facing trial in a case and also getting special treatment. What is this? Till July 12, you will not travel. The trial court order is stayed till that time.”

The high court’s interim order came on a plea of CBI challenging the trial court’s May 24 decision permitting Mr Tyagi to travel abroad.

CBI’s standing counsel Sanjeev Bhandari said the trial court’s order was illegal and should be set aside as the accused may flee from justice.

However, Mr Tyagi’s counsel opposed the contention, saying his client is going to Indonesia with his family and will return.

He submitted that the CBI’s appeal should be heard tomorrow as the senior counsel for the accused was not available today.

The CBI opposed Mr Tyagi’s contention and said the accused is scheduled to travel from tomorrow onwards.

Mr Tyagi, who along with his cousin Sanjeev Tyagi and lawyer Gautam Khaitan are accused in the case relating to alleged irregularities in the procurement of 12 VVIP choppers from UK-based AgustaWestland during the UPA-2 regime, have been granted bail by the trial court.

The high court had issued notices to the three accused on the pleas in which CBI has alleged that they were influential persons who could hamper the ongoing probe if they remained out of custody.

Mr Tyagi, who had retired as IAF chief in 2007, was granted bail by trial court on December 26 last year.

Thereafter on January 4 this year, the lower court here had also granted bail to Sanjeev Tyagi and Khaitan in the scam, saying no purpose would be served by keeping them in custody.

During the earlier hearing, the agency had claimed in the high court that if SP Tyagi remained out on bail, he could “alert other potential accused”.

The agency had also said its probe was “multi-layered” as it spread across several countries since various companies were allegedly used to “camouflage the bribe money”.

All the accused have denied the allegations levelled against them by CBI.