New evidence links Abhishek Verma to Sig Sauer's deals

FP

Fresh evidence has been received against controversial arms agent Abhishek Verma suggesting that he bribed top military, police and Home Ministry officials as well as obtained secret documents to fix deals for leading US small arms manufacturer Sig Sauer.

The arms manufacturer allegedly employed him and his wife Anca Neacsu to procure deals for the Army, National Security Guard (NSG), Ministry of Home Affairs as well as state police departments.

While investigative agencies are still going through the evidence — received in the form of documents, e-mails and files last week by the Defence and Home Ministry, besides investigative agencies — sources said several files point to violation of the Official Secrets Act (OSA), Indian anti-corruption laws as well as the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

Sig Sauer did not respond to a detailed questionnaire sent by The Indian Express. The documents name several top officials, including of joint secretary level in the Home Ministry.

The new evidence also suggests that Neacsu shot secret videos from a hidden camera during visits to Home Ministry departments in the Capital and meetings with senior officials handling procurement of small arms as "proof" of their high connections.

Verma and Neacsu are already in jail facing charges under the OSA and of forgery. The new batch of information will add to the ongoing CBI probe into their dealings in allegedly receiving and paying commissions to swing arms deals.

The new allegations specifically are:

* The Sig group conspired with Verma and his associates to sell arms to India in violation of the FCPA and Indian laws. A JV called Sig Sauer Asia LLC was created with the sole purpose of paying 10 per cent commission on all arms deals made with the Defence and Home ministries in India.

* Home Ministry procurement officials, senior police officers and bureaucrats received favours to swing deals, in the guise of foreign tours, dinners and site visits.

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