Air Chief Arup Raha today described the arrest of former IAF chief S P Tyagi as “unfortunate”, and said that it has “dented” the force’s reputation.
“Very unfortunate that such an episode has taken place. It does dent our reputation as a professional force.
But we believe in the rule of law,” Raha told reporters at a function at the city airport.
“I am sure every Indian citizen believes in rule of law and the due process is on,” he said , adding “whatever is the final verdict we will go by that”.
He refused to speak further on the issue, saying the matter is sub-judice.
The CBI had arrested Tyagi and two others for alleged corruption in the Rs 3,600 crore Agusta Westland VVIP choppers deal.
Along with Tyagi, his cousin Sanjiv alias Julie Tyagi and lawyer Gautam Khaitan were also arrested.
“This is for first time a former IAF chief has been arrested by the central probe agency,” official sources said.
A Delhi court on Saturday sent Tyagi to police custody for four days after the CBI said he was needed to be quizzed to unearth a “very large conspiracy having international ramifications”.
His cousin Sanjeev Tyagi alias Julie and advocate Gautam Khaitan, also accused in the procurement of VVIP choppers from the UK-based company during UPA-2 regime, were also sent to police custody till December 14.
Metropolitan Magistrate Sujit Saurabh sent them to CBI custody saying their custodial interrogation was required for a “fair probe” in the case.
During the proceedings, CBI sought 10 days’ custody saying it was a “very large conspiracy having international ramifications”.
However, the counsel appearing for the accused, opposed CBI’s plea saying FIR in the case was registered over three years ago and there was no fresh ground for the arrests now.
Senior advocate N Hariharan, who appeared for the former IAF chief, claimed that the decision to procure 12 VVIP choppers from AgustaWestland was a “collective” one and the Prime Minister Office (PMO) was also a part of it.
“It was a collective decision and not his (Tyagi’s) individual one. It was a collective decision of which PMO was also a part,” he told the court.
On January 1, 2014, India had scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of paying kickbacks of Rs 423 crore by it for securing the deal.
CBI had also got issued Letters Rogatory (judicial requests) to multiple countries to gather more leads and evidences in this case.