Once known for his lavish lifestyle, private jets and paramour, Abhishek Verma, the accused in the 2006 Naval war room leak case finds himself neck deep in allegations. To make matters worse, a Delhi court rejected requests from Verma and his wife to surrender in a fresh case registered by the CBI against them for allegedly forging a letter of its senior agency official to operate his accounts in foreign banks. Chief metropolitan magistrate Vidya Parkash rejected Verma’s plea to surrender after the CBI submitted their custodial interrogation is not required at this juncture as the investigation in the case is at initial stage.
Verma’s counsel Vijay Aggarwal contended that CBI’s conduct is not proper as it has been registering fresh cases against both Verma and his Romanian wife Anca Maria Neascu by adopting a pick and choose policy. The CBI had registered cases against Verma and unknown others for allegedly forging a letter dated April 10, 2009.
Having spent a few months in Tihar, even as a CBI team in America is gathering evidence to nail him, Verma is likely see tough days ahead. Last week, the Delhi police wrote a letter to director general-prisons of Tihar to increase Verma’s security.
In 2006 Verma’s name had cropped up in the Naval War room leak case, linked to the Scorpene deal scam. A cache of documents were stolen from the Directorate of Naval operations or the Navy’s war room and sent to Thales, the company that manufactures Scorpene submarines. The documents contained procurement plans of Indian defence forces, and were allegedly found went to Thales via Abhishek Verma and some others. Thales bagged a contract of `19,000 crore from the Ministry of Defence. It is alleged that bribes of `500 crore exchanged hands in the deal. Verma is alleged to be a key handlers.
After being arrested in 2006, Verma remained in judicial custody for two years. He later got married to Anca Neacsu, a Romanian, who also serves as a director on the board of Verma’s company Ganton India. He fell apart with his business associate Edmonds Allen, who was working for his company Ganton USA. Allen contacted the CBI and gave them thousands of pages of information, that led to Verma’s downfall.
The CBI was gathering hard evidence that hit him through a clutch of cases, on June 7, 2012. Verma’s Vasant Kunj farm house and several other premises in the Capital were raided. He was booked by the investigating agency for allegedly accepting $30,000 from Rheinmetall Air Defence AG (RAD), a Swiss defence manufacturer. Verma had allegedly accepted the bribe through his company Ganton USA in January 2011, the money was later transferred to Ganton India. On June 9, CBI arrested Verma and his wife Neacsu in connection with the case and booked them under relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Verma was bailed out in the bribery case on August 8. But CBI registered a case against him for allegedly forging a letter to the PM, using a forged letter head for Ajay Maken, then a minister of state for home. Verma was booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act, IPC and Information Technology Act, 2000. On August 29, CBI booked him for alleged possession of documents which are classified under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
- Sunday Standard