Surrender plea of Verma, wife in fresh forgery case rejected

A Delhi court today rejected the request of arms dealer Abhishek Verma and his wife to surrender in a fresh case registered by the CBI against them for allegedly forging a letter of its senior agency official to operate his accounts in foreign banks.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vidya Parkash rejected Verma's plea to surrender after the CBI submitted that their custodial interrogation is not required at this juncture as the investigation in the case is at initial stage.

"Be that as it may, it is the prerogative of the investigating agency to arrest an accused involved in any case. The prayer made by accused for surrendering themselves cannot be allowed in view of written reply filed by the CBI," the court said.

During the arguments, Verma's counsel Vijay Aggarwal contended that the conduct of the CBI is not proper as it has been registering fresh cases against both Verma and his Romanian wife Anca Maria Neascu by adopting "pick and choose policy".

He said that both the accused were arrested by CBI in fresh case when they would become entitled to bail in another case on account of non-filing of charge sheet within the stipulated period for filing it.

The CBI, however, submitted, "at this stage various information and details have been requisitioned from various authorities which are still awaited and that the investigating agency will be seeking interrogation of accused at appropriate stage in future."

Verma and his wife had sought to surrender in a fresh CBI case registered against "Verma and unknown others" for allegedly forging a April 10, 2009 letter purportedly issued under the signatures of CBI SP Ramnish.

The FIR was registered on Ramnish's complaint, which said the forged letter, addressed to Interpol, referred to certain foreign investigation related to the operation of Verma's overseas bank accounts which were sealed during the probe into the Naval War Room leak case.

The FIR said that in the forged letter, CBI SP Ramnish purportedly stated that preliminary inquiry conducted through office of Prosecution General Vaduz, Liechtenstein, confirmed that Verma did not receive any remittances from the list of companies named in a petition in the Delhi High Court relating to the Scorpene submarine deal.

Ramnish was entrusted the probe into the Naval War Room leak in 2006, in which Verma was arrested and remained in judicial custody for two years.

The letter forged in the name of Ramnish referred to a CBI status report, submitted to the Delhi High Court earlier around 2006 in sealed cover, on the court's direction during adjudication of a petition, filed by a citizen's group for CBI probe into the War Room leak case.

The CBI officer had said that subsequently in 2009, he was selected for deployment with UN Peace Keeping Force and was relieved from the CBI to which he reported back in April 2010.

He had said that the letter was sent by Edward Allen, Verma's estranged business partner to different government organisations and media houses claiming that Verma had given him the letter for helping him in operation of his overseas bank acocunts.

Both Verma and his wife are presently in judicial custody in case of violation of Official Secrets Act, lodged by the CBI.

The couple, who were arrested in August, are also accused in a corruption case and another forgery case lodged by the CBI. They have been granted bail in both the cases by the court but they have not furnished the bail bonds.

They were today granted bail by a Delhi court in a money laundering case for allegedly receiving money from a Swiss arms dealing firm to keep it out of the Indian government's blacklist.

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