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India's Former Air Chief May be Found Guilty of Corruption

© AP Photo / Noel Celis, PoolA file photo of an AgustaWestland AW109 helicopter
A file photo of an AgustaWestland AW109 helicopter - Sputnik International
Retired Air Chief Marshal (ACM) S. P. Tyagi has yet to be held responsible for his alleged derelictions in changing the specifications of the AgustaWestland (AW 101) VVIP choppers.

Previously, twelve helicopters were to be procured at a cost of 560 million euros. Now, an Italian court has claimed that bribes were paid to various people including the then IAF chief, bureaucrats and politicians.

In defense of the former ACM, retired Air Marshal Pranob K. Barbora said: "The specification of the chopper could not have been changed with a single signature of the IAF chief."

For the chopper deal to have been passed it had to be approved by three defense ministers, two national security advisers and one director general, who eventually ended up being the defense secretary.

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The deal was first proposed by the Special Protection Group, then passed to the Prime Minister's Office and landed eventually on the table of Brijesh Mishra, now deceased, former national security adviser. After his approval, the ministry of defense asked IAF to come up with a proposal for a heleicopter to ferry VVIPs.

In 2003, the IAF proposed two options: the AW 101 and the Eurocopter EC-225. The Eurocopter was chosen on the basis that it could attain an  altitude of 6,000 meters.

However, in a meeting held on November 19, 2003, Mishra then reissued his initial proposal with a reduced operational altitude of 4,500 meters. The Eurocopter was not ultimately picked.

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