NEW DELHI Dec 9 India's federal police arrested
the former head of the air force on Friday in an investigation
into allegations of bribery in a contract to buy for a dozen
AgustaWestland helicopters, an official said.
Retired air chief marshal S.P. Tyagi, 71, has been at the
centre of allegations of impropriety in the 560 million-euro
($590 million) deal to buy the helicopters from AgustaWestland,
a unit of the Italian defence group Leonardo-Finmeccanica
The deal was cancelled in 2014 after Finmeccanica's then
chief executive, Giuseppe Orsi, was arrested on suspicion of
paying bribes to secure the order for the helicopters, which
were meant to fly senior Indian politicians.
Tyagi was arrested on Friday along with a cousin of his and
a lawyer, an official of the Central Bureau of Investigation
said. The CBI has filed a complaint against the three men
alleging offences including cheating, bribery and money
laundering, the official said.
"There is sufficient evidence against them for us to arrest
them," the official said. The men will appear in court on
Saturday and formal charges will be drawn up later on.
The three men could not be reached for comment. Tyagi has in
the past said that he is innocent in the affair.
Orsi was in April sentenced to four and a half years in
prison in Italy for corruption and falsifying invoices.
India is one of the world's biggest arms importers but
critics say its procurement process is not transparent, and that
millions of dollars have often been paid to politicians and top
government and military officials to swing deals.
($1 = 0.9472 euros)
(Reporting by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Kevin Liffey)