In a setback to the CBI probing alleged irregularities in the AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter deal, former IAF chief S P Tyagi was granted bail Monday after 18 days in custody.
In its order, the court of special CBI judge Arvind Kumar said the CBI had “failed to state how much cash was paid to accused and when it was paid” despite conducting an investigation for “3 years and 9 months”.
The pronouncement of the order had the Tyagi family in tears. They declined to comment, only saying that their “faith in the judiciary was restored”.
The former Chief of Air Staff was arrested by the CBI on December 9 for his alleged involvement in changing specifications for VVIP choppers, allowing AgustaWestland to participate in the bidding process.
The CBI had alleged that Tyagi received money and used his influence to change the service ceiling for the helicopters. It also alleged that the “bribe amount” had been transferred “through different companies” in the name of “consultancy services” to persons related to Tyagi.
The agency had opposed grant of bail to the former IAF chief, saying evidence was yet to be received from various countries and other witnesses.
The court noted that Tyagi had joined the investigation for questioning several times prior to his arrest and raids had been conducted at his residence in 2013 where a number of documents had been seized.
“It has not been the contention of the CBI that accused had tampered with the evidence or influenced any witness since the time of lodging of FIR,” the court said.
It also said that since Tyagi had retired from service in 2007, “the apprehension of CBI that he would influence the witnesses who had been subordinate to him during the tenure of his service appears unfounded”.