NEW DELHI: Anti-corruption activists on Thursday released a set of documents alleging involvement of middlemen in key government deals in defence and telecom sectors.
They suspected dubious involvement of Abhishek Verma, an accused in the 2008 Navy war room leak case and a New York-based company Ganton Limited.
The allegations, made at a press conference, are based on documents received from C Edmonds Allen, an US attorney, who used to work for Verma. The parted ways in 2010 after which Verma filed a court case in the USA to recover his money from Allen, who was assigned to manage his money.
“We studied them in great detail and also did whatever verification we could do. If these documents are genuine, then the crimes being committed are so serious that it would be a scarilage to keep quiet,” the activists said in a booklet titled “Government of India – a well oiled commission Raj,” released here on Thursday.
The activists alleged Verma owns at least Rs 1,000 crore ($ 205 million), whose source remains unknown. It is also not clear if the amount has been disclosed to Indian tax authorities.
Besides, the activists alleged Verma’s involvement in purchase of helicopters from Italian firm Agusta Westland. He allegedly pulled strings to remove anti-dumping duty imposed by the government on an Israeli company and accept an assignment to clear the name of Rheinmetall, which was blacklisted by the Defence Ministry recently. Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan, along with anti-graft activist Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Sunilam, appeared before the media to release the booklet carrying photocopies of the documents provided by Allen and an accompanying commentary written by the activists based on these documents.
The fresh allegations on the involvement of middlemen in defence deals came at a time when the government is battling corruption charges. Further, the purchase of 12 VIP helicopters from Italian firm Agusta Westland for the VIP Squadron of the Indian Air Force is also under scanner.
On Wednesday, the Defence ministry had sought a fresh status report from the Indian Embassy in Rome on investigation by the Italian authority into the Rs 3500-crore deal to purchase 12 VIP choppers.
Team Anna has claimed: “An agreement for “consultancy” exists between Agusta and a New York-based firm Ganton Limited for selling three types of helicopters in a separate deal to Delhi Police.” The activists want the government to probe the consultant’s role.
The anti-graft activists alleged that during his stay in Tihar Jail as one of the accused in Navy War Room case, Verma had sent mails and transferred money.
Bhushan further alleged that a secret CBI report to the Interpol on the Navy War room case was not given to a petitioner, but the same was available with Verma and sent to Allen.