Retired Indian air force chief held for Italian chopper deal

AP News
Posted: Dec 09, 2016 8:41 AM

NEW DELHI (AP) — A retired Indian air force chief and two others were arrested Friday for allegedly influencing a $750 million deal with AgustaWestland for the purchase of 12 luxury helicopters to ferry Indian VIPs, a federal investigator said.

Central Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Kanchan Prasad said the agency has enough evidence to prosecute retired Air Marshal S.P. Tyagi, his cousin Sanjiv Tyagi and attorney Gautam Khaitan.

Tyagi is the first Indian military chief to be arrested under corruption prevention laws. He was questioned by the CBI several times in the past.

India signed an agreement to purchase the AW101 helicopters with Italian-owned Finmeccanica's helicopter arm AgustaWestland in February 2010, but canceled it in January 2014 amid allegations that the company paid kickbacks to Indian officials and politicians.

India received three of the helicopters and stopped delivery of the remaining nine.

India's Defense Ministry said the agreement was terminated because an integrity pact was breached by AgustaWestland.