Businessman Abhishek Verma and his newly wed Romanian wife Anca Neascu were on Friday arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation for allegedly receiving $ 5,30,000 from the blacklisted Swiss defence equipment supplier company Rheinmetall Air Defence (RAD) AG through a front company to stall the process of blacklisting by bribing the public servants concerned.
Mr. Verma and his wife, were summoned by the agency for questioning in connection with the case registered against him, RAD and unknown persons besides their associates for allegedly receiving the amount on January 31 last year through New York-headquartered Ganton Limited. The payment was shown to have been made by RAD for “consultancy services.”
It is learnt that the CBI had seized several documents pertaining to financial transactions during the searches on the premises of Mr. Verma, his associates and RAD in and outside the Capital on Thursday. Mr. Verma and then his wife, who happens to be a director of Ganton India Private Limited having its offices in South Delhi and neighbouring Gurgaon, were confronted with the findings and were reportedly asked to explain certain financial transactions. The businessman was also asked about his association with Ganton Limited, the source and the purpose for which $ 5,30,000 was paid to Ganton Limited. Based on the alleged discrepancies in their explanations, the agency finally decided to arrest the couple. They would be produced in a special CBI court on Saturday.
“Investigations regarding the suspected role of RAD representatives and associates of Mr. Verma are under way,” said a CBI official.
The case pertains to alleged attempts made on behalf of RAD to influence the process of blacklisting for its purported role in an ordnance factory scam that was initiated after the CBI gave a recommendation to this effect in view of the findings in a case registered in May 2009. The case was registered against the former Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) Director General Sudipta Ghosh and others for allegedly receiving illegal gratification to facilitate supply orders placed by the Board. The CBI is now investigating to ascertain if any public servant had been paid any illegal gratification to achieve the objective.
Despite these purported attempts, RAD was blacklisted by the Defence Ministry for 10 years in March.