The CBI has quizzed Jagdish Tytler, former Union minister and senior Congress leader, to verify if he had assisted arms dealer Abhishek Verma in his attempts to influence public servants to get a Switzerland-based arms manufacturing firm off the central government blacklist.
"We met Tytler and questioned him if he had met Verma. Tytler told us he had met Verma but said the meetings did not have to do anything with regard to lobbying for Verma or the accused Swiss arms manufacturing firm," a CBI source told Hindustan Times.
The source said, "When we had interrogated Verma during his custody period with us, he claimed he had contacted a few important people, including Tytler, as part of his failed attempts to muster some influence to get the Swiss firm off the hook.
"Tytler rejected any allegations of wrongdoing and said he had met Verma due to old family ties as the latter's parents had been prominent Congress leaders," said the source. The agency is examining Tytler's response, said the source.
Meanwhile, Tytler told HT, “I have nothing to do with Verma’s nefarious activities. I have met him on a few social occasions like Diwali and Holi only because his parents, especially his mother who was a Rajya Sabha member, were very close to me.”
Last month, the CBI had lodged a case and arrested Verma and his Romanian wife for allegedly taking a bribe worth $ 6.3 lakh for influencing public servants to get the Swiss firm off the government blacklist. The CBI had booked the Swiss company, Verma and unknown persons under sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
After investigation in the 2009 Ordnance Factory Board scam, the CBI had recommended to the defence ministry the blacklisting of the Swiss firm as it had allegedly "adopted corrupt and illegal means to obtain the contract of supply of 35 MM revolver gun system by OFB in the year 2011," said the source.
Verma’s ex-lawyer to give statement
C Edmond Allen, the US-based estranged lawyer of arms dealer Abhishek Verma, is ready to give a statement to the CBI. But he has asked the investigators to come to the US for recording his statement. Allen is the most important witness of the CBI in its case against Verma. “We wrote to Allen a few days back. He is willing to record his statement. Though we would prefer him to come to India but he scared of coming here. We might seek cooperation from the US under the Mutual Legal Assistant Treaty,” a CBI investigator said. (Rajesh Ahuja)