Former Indian Air Force chief SP Tyagi, arrested earlier this month on the charges of receiving kickbacks in the multi-million-dollar AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter deal, was given a bail by a Delhi court on Monday.
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge Arvind Kumar allowed Tyagi's bail application and asked him to furnish a personal bond of Rs 2 lakh and a surety of like amount.
"He (Tyagi) was in custody for 18 days. No purpose will be served by keeping (the) accused behind the bars," the court said.
Tyagi's relatives and veterans, present in the court room to show solidarity, were elated after the judge granted bail to 72-year-old veteran, considering his age and medical condition.
Tyagi headed the Indian Air Force from 2004 to 2007.
"Accused (Tyagi) is 72 years of age, suffering from heart disease, eye disease, blood pressure and also suffered heart attack on July 3, 1993, and had undergone cardiac bypass surgery in December 1995 and is on regular medication," the court noted in its 10-page order.
Tyagi was directed by the court not to leave Delhi without prior permission and join the investigation whenever required. He was also warned against tampering with evidence or influencing witnesses in the case.
The court observed that the case was based on documents, and Tyagi, who "has been a senior government servant", had earlier joined the investigation as and when called by the CBI and was also interrogated.
"The correctness or otherwise of the allegations as to whether the accused (Tyagi) has taken the kickbacks and in what manner he was connected with the same can only be looked into during the course of trial."
It noted as unfounded the CBI apprehensions that the former Indian Air Force chief may tamper with evidences or influence the witnesses who had been subordinate to him during the tenure of his service.
Tyagi and two others, arrested on December 9, were sent to the judicial custody till December 30.
Tyagi -- the first chief of any wing of the armed forces to be arrested in the country -- and the others were allegedly involved in irregularities in the procurement of 12 AW-101 VVIP helicopters from Britain-based AgustaWestland.
He has denied the charge. The other two accused in the case-- Tyagi's cousin Sanjeev Tyagi and a Delhi-based lawyer Gautam Khaitan --have also sought the bail from the court.
The court has reserved its order on the bail plea of the other accused for January 4, 2017.
The CBI alleges that Tyagi and the other accused had received bribes from AgustaWestland helping the manufacturer win the $530 million contract to purchase the helicopters for the Communication Squadron of Indian Air Force to carry President, Prime Minister and other VVIPs.
The probe agency further added that that company was favoured by accused persons against illegal gratification accepted through different companies in the name of consultancy services.A
A first information report was registered against them on March 12, 2013 under various charges dealing with criminal conspiracy, cheating and under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.A
The court observed that CBI has failed to support the bribery allegations after its three years and nine month investigation.