Arms dealer Abhishek Verma had asked for $5 million from Swiss arms manufacturer Rheinmetall Air Defence AG (RAD) to get it off the Indian government blacklist through his political contacts, CBI sources told HT.
Rheinmetall has been blacklisted by the government on the recommendations of the CBI for allegedly using corrupt means to get a contract of 35 MM revolver gun system by Ordinance Factory Board in 2011.
“We are now planning to call the representatives of RAD for questioning,” said a CBI official.
According to CBI, the RAD paid US $5,00,000 which was 10% upfront payment of the total amount. The money to US company Ganton, which has almost wholly owned subsidiary in India with a similar name. Ganton India withdrew US $80,000 from the first installment. Abhishek’s wife Anca Neacsu is managing Ganton India. Investigators believe that Anca was a face for Abhishek’s activities. According to the CBI, Anca holds less than 1% stake in Ganton India. The remaining shares are held by Ganton US. The agency is planning to send a court approved request for assistance in investigation (also called letter rogatory) to the US to get information about the real owners of Ganton US.
The agency also wants to question Abhishek’s now estranged associate C Edmond Allen in connection with the case. According to sources, Abhishek parted ways with his New York-based attorney. Allen has alleged that Verma takes kickbacks in defence deals. “We plan to call him to India soon,” said an investigator.