Big Show of Support from Former Air Marshals at SP Tyagi’s Hearing
Around 11 former Air Marshals and a former Army chief were present in solidarity at the hearing of former Indian Air Forces (IAF) chief SP Tyagi on 14 December at a court in New Delhi on Wednesday.
The court extended the CBI custody of former Indian Air Force (IAF) chief SP Tyagi and two others till 17 December in the Rs 3,767 crore AgustaWestland chopper deal case.
“How can the patriarch of the air force family let his family down?” asks former Air Vice Marshal Kamal Khanna, who was also present at the hearing.
Along with him, among those present were former Army Chief Gen Vij, Air Marshal Bhawnani, Air Marshal Inamdar, Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak, Air Marshal AK Singh, Air Marshal Nadkarni, Air Marshal Barbora, Air Marshal Phillip Rajkumar, Air Marshal Chaturvedi, Air Marshal Malhotra and Air Marshal Bharat Kumar.
This long list of former Air Marshals standing in support of Tyagi is symbolic of the kind of support he has received from many who have worked with him.
Former Air Chief Marshal Anil Yashwant Tipnis told The Quint, “I was incredulous. I could not believe that a former chief of Air Staff who’s been under investigation for three-four years was arrested, when to the best of my knowledge he had been cooperating fully.”
On the decision of lowering the required service altitude for a chopper from the original 6,000 m to 4,500 m, Tipnis added that “it would’ve been impossible for any service chief to take such a decision unilaterally.”
Khanna says that Tyagi is being used as a scapegoat, adding that “whatever has happened is in the files so why don’t they just go and pick up the names about who signed when and who authorised what?”
He also said that the focus on the addition of ‘at least’ before two engines in the new FIR is also just “splitting hairs because they have nothing to go on”.
Calling Tyagi’s arrest an episode that has dented the IAF’s reputation as a professional force, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha said:
“We believe in the rule of law. I am sure every Indian citizen believes in the rule of law. The due process is on. Whatever is the final verdict, we will go by that.”
(With inputs from IANS)