The CBI on Thursday swung into action against controversial defence equipment supplier Abhishek Verma for allegedly taking money for influencing public servants to get Switzerland-based Rheinmetall Air Defence AG off the government blacklist.
The CBI booked the company, Verma and unknown persons under section eight and 12 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, CBI sources said.After registering an FIR in the case, the agency sleuths searched 10 premises of Verma and his alleged associates like Vicky Chaudhry, Arjun Arora and a Rheinmetall representative MK Sahni in Delhi and Gurgaon.
The criminal investigation unit of the Income Tax department also joined the searches as it is probing Verma taw law violations. According to sources, Verma's latest trouble started with his fallout with his alleged one time associate C Edmond Allen, who is a New York-based attorney.
Allen has leveled allegations against Verma pertaining to defence deals in the last few years and CBI’s present case is also based on documents provided by Allen. Allen has mailed these documents to the ED, the CBI, the I-T department and the CVC as well.
About the present case, the CBI said it recommended blacklisting of Rheinmetall as it had allegedly used corrupt means to obtain the contract of supply of 35 MM revolver gun system by Ordinance Factory Board (OFB) in 2011.
When the blacklisting process was underway, Verma got in touch with the representatives of Rheinmetall and assured them of help by allegedly influencing the public servants to stall the process of blacklisting.
“It is further alleged that Rheinmetall agreed and paid $530,000 to Verma for the purpose. This money was paid by fund transfer to the bank account of a benami company of Verma in US from the bank account of Rheinmetall,” said a CBI spokesperson.