Abhishek Verma charged under Official Secrets Act
Arms dealer Abhishek Verma faced fresh trouble on Wednesday with the CBI slapping a case against him under the Official Secrets Act after defence ministry certified that the documents allegedly handed over by his US-based estranged business associate were classified.
The CBI registered a case in the special court against Verma and unkwown government officials after a formal complaint was received from the defence ministry stating that documents purportedly provided by US-based attorney C Edmond Allen, Verma's business associate, were classified and violated OSA, official sources said.
After receiving the complaint, the CBI took legal opinion on the alleged involvement of Verma as documents were not recovered from his possession but were provided by a third person.
However, it was decided to register a case against Verma and unknown officials of defence ministry under section three of OSA (passing on sensitive information) and 120-B (Criminal conspiracy).
The CBI will now question senior defence ministry officials and retired defence personnel who are under the agency's scanner for their alleged relations with Verma and other arms supplier lobbyists.
Allen had purportedly provided documents which deal with acquisition and future plans of the defence forces to CBI and other investigating agencies.
The sources claimed that Allen had alleged that these were provided by Verma to show his influence in defence circles.
The documents include acquisition plans for next five years for the Indian Air Force and some of them relate to acquisition of UAVs and related system besides infrastructure developed by the IAF.
Allen and Verma have been engaged in litigations after their business ties turned sour. Verma had filed a case against Allen accusing him of cheating him of Rs. 55 crore and forging documents to defame him. A litigation between the two is going on in the US as well.
On the other hand, Allen had sent complaints of alleged money laundering and other related crimes against Verma to various investigating agencies of India as well as the US.
CBI has already booked Verma and his Romanian wife Ancea Neascu for allegedly taking $5.30 lakh from Swiss firm Rheinmetall Air Defence AG for using his "influence" to stall the blacklisting proceedings initiated by the government against it after the Ordnance Factory Board scam had surfaced. Both are currently in judicial custody.
The agency last week slapped a case of alleged forgery against him as well. The Enforcement Directorate has also arrested the couple in a money laundering case.