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Honey-trapped Varun Gandhi has leaked defence secrets

NEW DELHI: Oct 21, 2016, DHNS 1:39 IST
Varun Gandhi

BJP Lok Sabha member Varun Gandhi has been honey-trapped by a notorious arms dealer, a business insider has told the Prime Minister’s Office.

C Edmonds Allen, US-based lawyer and former partner of Delhi-based arms dealer Abhishek Verma, has made the sensational charge, backing it up with documentary and photographic evidence. He believes Varun revealed classified defence information to the dealer. Varun has denied the charges.

Honey-trapping refers to the use of attractive women to elicit information from people in key positions. Verma, the arms dealer in question, has been named as an accused in the Navy War Room leak and Scorpene submarine deal case of 2005.

He was arrested by the CBI, and is out on bail. Lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan and Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav made the contents of Allen’s letter public at a press conference here on Thursday.

Besides Varun, Verma has also trapped Air Marshal H Masand, according to the whistle-blower. Verma was looking for a big-ticket deal to sell, on behalf of his client, basic trainer aircraft to the Indian Air Force. The contract was eventually bagged by a Swedish company, and not by the US firm for which Verma had roped in Masand as a deal-maker.

Over the years, Allen has provided hundreds of documents and photographs to the investigating agencies. On September 16, he sent a detailed letter to the Prime Minister's Office on how Gandhi and Masand had been compromised by Verma. The dealer is said to have flaunted his links with the MP to executives of arms companies abroad. Gandhi was a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence in the 15th Lok Sabha (2009-2014). Verma was accused of playing middleman in the Rs 18,000 crore Scorpene submarine deal.

Gandhi has denied the allegations. “I met Abhishek Verma when I was 22 and studying in London. I have not met him since. The allegations are baseless. I will file a defamation suit against Prashant Bhushan,” the 36-year-old MP from Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh said. He also said no secret information worth leaking was shared at House panel meetings. He dismissed the photos as "not genuine".

Allen's letter is said to be accompanied by a compact disc containing hundreds of intimate photos of Gandhi, collected since 2002. Copies of the letter, accompanied by the photos, were sent to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and National Security Advsior Ajit Doval as well. The evidence submitted includes intimate photos of Masand and some others associated with Verma.

“We have hundreds of sleazy photographs, which we are not releasing. It's not a matter of sleaze but national security. We want to know why the government is sitting on this despite having all evidence. No fresh FIR was filed against Verma, despite the PMO having the evidence for the last two months,” said Bhushan.

Bhushan and Yadav claimed the NDA government had chosen to ignore the evidence because it has recently clinched the Rafale fighter jet deal, involving Thales, a French armament major and one of the key suppliers in the Scorpene submarine deal. It is said to have links with Verma.

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