Delhi High Court on Friday sought the response of former Indian Air Force chief S P Tyagi on CBI’s plea challenging his bail in the AgustaWestland chopper scam case contending that he could “hamper” its probe and “alert” other accused if he remained out of custody.
While Justice Vipin Sanghi issued notice to Tyagi and listed the matter for hearing on January 3, separately, Metropolitan Magistrate Sumeet Anand extended the judicial custody of other two accused, Sanjeev Tyagi alias Julie and lawyer Gautam Khaitan, till January 13.
The high court agreed to give an early hearing to CBI’s plea challenging the bail granted to the former Chief of Air Staff (COAS) after the agency said the bail pleas of the other two accused were likely to be heard by the trial court on January 4.
71-year old Tyagi, who was arrested on December 9 along with the Sanjeev and Khaitan in the case relating to procurement of 12 VVIP choppers from UK-based AgustaWestland during the UPA-2 regime, was granted bail on December 26.
During arguments in the high court on CBI’s plea against Tyagi’s bail, the agency said each day he remained out, would lead to its line of investigation getting “exposed” and “hampered” and evidence could also be destroyed.
It contended that if Tyagi remained out on bail, he could “alert other potential accused”.
The agency also said that its probe was “multi-layered” as it was spread across several countries since various companies were allegedly used to “camouflage the bribe money”.
CBI admitted before the high court that though FIR was registered in 2013, the “real core investigation started only a few months back” and therefore, it did not want Tyagi to be out on bail till the charge sheet is filed.
A special court had earlier granted bail to Tyagi, saying CBI has failed to state the alleged bribe amount and when it was paid.
While granting the relief, the trial court also took note of Tyagi’s advancing age and his health conditions and said no purpose would be served by keeping him behind bars.
The court issued a notice to Tyagi and asked him to file a reply by January 3.
Tyagi -- the first chief of any wing of the armed forces to be arrested in the country -- and two others were allegedly involved in irregularities in the procurement of 12 AW-101 VVIP helicopters from the Britain-based AgustaWestland.
Tyagi was granted bail by a trial court on December 26. He was the Air Force chief from 2004 to 2007.
The former IAF chief has denied the charges of kickbacks.
The bail order for the other two accused -- Tyagi’s cousin Sanjeev Tyagi and Gautam Khaitan, a Delhi-based lawyer -- will be delivered on January 4 by the trial court.