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Indian American couple charged with hampering weapons case probe

india Updated: Aug 08, 2009 19:53 IST

IANS
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An Indian American doctor in Arkansas accused of illegally owning high-explosive grenades and his wife face new federal charges of interfering with the investigation into their weapons cache.

The new seven-count indictment accuses Randeep Mann and his wife, Sangeeta Mann; of attempting to hide from federal agents signed blank cheques, the Arkansas News reported.

The indictment unsealed on Friday also accuses Sangeeta Mann, 48, of lying to a federal grand jury about removing the cheques from her husband's medical office on his orders.

In a statement, the US attorney's office in Little Rock, Arkansas said federal agents arrested Sangeeta Mann Friday. She pleaded not guilty to the charges and faces a detention hearing Monday. Her husband, who also has pleaded not guilty to earlier charges, remains held without bond pending trial.

Prosecutors allege in the indictment that Sangeeta Mann told the grand jury investigating her 51-year-old husband that she took a set of cheques from his Russellville office home because she "thought it would be safer".

In a raid on Mann's home in March, federal agents had found about $1 million worth of machine guns spread out on the floors, inside closets and secured in safes.

The search also turned up 45 practice grenade rounds, two launchers, a roll of plastic similar to what was used to wrap the canister found in the woods and other canisters that looked the same, agents said.

In the indictment unsealed Friday, federal prosecutors charged Mann with illegally possessing an automatic machine gun without official paperwork on the weapon. Mann also faces two new charges accusing him of owning an unregistered 12-gauge shotgun and the unregistered 7.62-caliber machine gun.