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Scorpene charges: Abhishek sues Advani

Verma filed the case in a Gurgaon District Court of Haryana for criminal defamation and forgery.

india Updated: Apr 08, 2006 22:33 IST

Businessman Abhishek Verma on Saturday filed a defamation suit against LK Advani for accusing him to be a middleman in the government's Rs 180 billion ($4.5 billion) deal to purchase French Scorpene submarines.

Verma filed the case in a Gurgaon District Court of Haryana for criminal defamation and forgery.

Addressing a press conference on March 20, Advani had alleged that Verma had received commissions to the tune of Rs 5-7 billion in the government's submarine purchase deal with a French company, Thales.

In October last year, India, after four years of negotiations, signed one of its biggest ever arms purchase deals to procure six Scorpene submarines from the French company.

"Advani has no strategy or ideology and the BJP is desperately looking for an agenda to come back into numbers in parliament and win forthcoming assembly elections by yet again throwing dirt and maligning others," Verma told reporters after filing the case.

Referring to the Bofors gun purchase deal of the 1980s in which kickbacks were allegedly paid to middlemen, he said: "For 20 years political parties have been flogging a dead horse and chasing a ghost that doesn't exist.

"Now they wish to create another scandal out of their imagination and are calling it Bofors Two," Verma said.

He also that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by the BJP had "victimised" him and his family in 1999 by foisting FERA (Foreign Exchange Regulation Act) cases on him and his family.

The court has fixed April 27 for hearing in the case.

Verma had earlier in February and March filed for defamation damages against a news magazine that originally reported on the alleged kickbacks.

First Published: Apr 08, 2006 21:49 IST