NEW DELHI – India’s former air force chief S. P. Tyagi was arrested by authorities on Friday over a scandal-hit deal with Anglo-Italian firm AgustaWestland to supply high-end helicopters to India.

Tyagi as nabbed in New Delhi over his alleged role in bribing officials to favour AgustaWestland.

“An investigation was going on and yes we have arrested him,” Kanchan Prasad, a spokeswoman for CBI confirmed.

The 556-million-euro deal is also being investigated separately by Italian authorities, with the boss of AgustaWestland’s parent company Finmeccanica being arrested in 2013.

Italian prosecutors suspect kickbacks worth about 10 per cent of the deal – 50 million euros – were allegedly paid to Indian officials as bribes.

India suspended the deal in 2013 following the accusations that AgustaWestland bribed to win the contract for 12 helicopters to be used by the prime minister and other dignitaries.

Tyagi and Finmeccanica (Italian aerospace giant) have denied any wrongdoing.

India has already received three of the helicopters, intended to be used by such dignitaries as the prime minister and the president, but delivery of the remaining nine has been halted due to suspicions looming over the transparency of deal.

The deal was inked under India’s previous Congress-led government with Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister.