CBI chargesheets Verma, wife, firm & ex-IAF man in OS Act case

The CBI today chargesheeted arms dealer Abhishek Verma, his Romanian wife Anca Maria Neacsu, their company M/s Ganton India Pvt Ltd and a former Wing Commander of the Indian Air Force for allegedly possessing secret defence documents and supplying them to foreign nationals in violation of the Official Secrets Act.

They were charge sheeted under section 3 of the OSA (for passing sensitive information) and also for criminal conspiracy and theft from a place for custody of property under the Indian Penal Code. "From the investigation conducted in the case so far, it has come on record that Verma and Anca first came in contact with C Edmond Allen and persuaded him to do business through them. For this purpose they incorporated M/s Ganton Ltd, USA. It was an independent identity," the CBI said in the charge sheet filed before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vidya Parkash.

"During period from 2009-11, they also got incorporated other companies namely M/s Ganton India Pvt Ltd and M/s Sig Sauer India Ltd. Verma and Anca and their associates in a clandestine manner and after hatching well planned conspiracy, obtained possession of these documents (secret documents) for any purpose prejudicial to safety and interest of India.

"They also communicated these documents and information to the persons who were neither authorised to receive them in any capacity nor Verma or Anca were having any kind of concern/ connection with the same," the charge sheet said. The CBI also said the secret documents also contained a scanned copy of handwritten notes pertaining to revenue procurements of IAF and that was when Rao was called to join the investigation and his specimen handwriting was taken.

"The Government Examiner of Questioned Documents has given a positive opinion in respect of authorship of the said documents having been written by Rao while he worked with M/s Ganton India with a dishonest intention to benefit from this deal in an unauthorised and illegal manner," it said.

While chargesheeting the four accused, the probe agency said investigation pertaining to the involvement of persons from the Ministry of Defence and role of foreign nationals is to be carried out. The CBI said the Defence Ministry had on June 6 received a letter from Verma's business partner and Ganton Pvt Ltd's President C Edmond Allen with some documents annexed to it.

Upon verification, eight of the annexed documents were found to be "secret" and a complaint was made to the CBI by the ministry on August 27 following which a case was registered. The agency said the eight documents which were found to be secret were summary of upgrade package, annual acquisition plan 2004, summary of filter projects which was a print from database prepared by Air headquarters for monitoring IAF projects and draft aircraft filter projects.

The secret documents also contained handwritten notes of projects of IAF, general staff qualitative requirement for holographic sights for rifle and carbine and notes pertaining to revenue procurement of various directorates of Air headquarters. The charge sheet said Allen's statement was recorded by the Assisstant Director of Directorrate of Enforcement in New York.

The CBI said probe revealed that Verma was introduced to Allen, a US national and an ESCROW professional, through one Stephen Karolyi in early 2000. On Verma's request, Allen agreed to become his escrow agent to handle and invest $205 million which he was said to have in a trust in Liechtenstein in LGT Bank.

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