Almost six years before SP Tyagi came under scanner for links with alleged middlemen in the AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter deal, intelligence agencies had informed the UPA government that the former chief of air staff was lobbying on behalf of mega defence contractors.
While there is bar on former defence officials taking private employment within one year of leaving the service but the guidelines about taking a consultancy job are not very clear.
A proposal to form unambiguous guidelines is pending in the ministry of defence for quite some time.
When HT tried to get in touch with Tyagi we were told that a statement was issued on Wednesday and there was nothing more to add. A detailed text message sent to him was also not replied to.
Classified reports reviewed by HT show that first report about Tyagi’s alleged lobbying was generated in 2007, immediately after he retired as the air chief. He remained the air chief between 2004 and 2007.
In the 2007 intelligence report, the government was informed that Tyagi is advising an American aviation major on medium multi-role combat aircraft deal which eventually went to the French company Dassault Rafale.
Under the deal, India will be procuring 126 aircraft from the French company.
Besides the deal, according to the intel report, Tyagi was also providing consultancy to a defence contractor for the low level quick reaction missile system deal.
The deal worth Rs.5,000 crore was bagged by Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) for providing its Barak 8 air defence system. Incidentally, the CBI is probing the IAI for alleged irregularities in the procurement of earlier version of Barak missile.
According to sources, before signing the Barak 8 deal in 2009 with the IAI, the cabinet committee on security (CCS) was informed about the pending probe against the IAI but the deal went through as the CCS was informed that the country needs surface to air missiles to guard its forward air bases.
Then there was another report in 2009 which again talked about Tyagi’s activities in the aviation sector.
The report said the former air chief was advising for the airport modernisation projects in India.
Tyagi also joined a consultancy firm Williams Global Advisors as a founding director in August 2011. The firm provides consultancy in the aviation and aerospace sector.