Kejriwal had tried to blow lid

Much before the alleged kickbacks in the AgustaWestland’s chopper deal surfaced, anti-corruption activists Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal in last April tried to expose the Italian firm. They had sent documents to the government and campaigned for an impartial inquiry.

The documents released not only threw light on the modus operandi of AgustaWestland in India of hiring a commission agent to procure a deal, but also revealed how Navy War Room Leak accused Abhishek Verma was involved in such murky defence deals. 

The activists had released papers which showed how Agusta hired Abhishek Verma’s company Ganton Limited on commission to clinch a deal of selling helicopters to Delhi Police. They had alleged that Verma was also working on the VVIP helicopter deal. Instead of an investigation into the copter deal, they had demanded a holistic probe to unearth the nexus involved in such deals.

The papers released by the anti-graft leaders show that AgustaWestland had agreed to pay 8 percent commission on sale of helicopters and 15 per cent commission on sale of spare parts. They also revealed that Verma’s company had agreed to the offer.

The activists had released letters written by Ganton Ltd’s president C Edmonds Allen to the CBI and ministries concerned in which he had offered to cooperate. He had sent documents of Abhishek Verma’s involvement in other defence deals too. The anti-graft crusaders, however, alleged that no one was ready to hear out the estranged associate of Verma.

Bhushan was in touch with Allen and had also claimed to have verified his documents to the best of his access. However, he had demanded a thorough investigation.

Allen’s papers and emails released by Kejriwal and Bhushan showed how companies were approaching Abhishek Verma to get things done and how Verma was assuring them of the same. He was approached by ECI telecom of Israel to get anti-dumping duty removed.

The campaign against murky defence deals could not be taken too far as the anti-graft activists shifted their focus and entered electoral politics.

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