Verma papers: Antony quiet on MoD inaction, says CBI in charge of probe

FP

Terming the charges against arms dealer Abhishek Verma of fixing deals and getting access to secret documents as "serious", Defence Minister A K Antony said today that the matter is being "aggressively" probed by the CBI but refused to discuss details of the case or the investigation.

Antony also did not elaborate on why the Defence Ministry has not yet initiated an internal probe to find out the source and authenticity of the secret documents that have been sent to Indian investigative agencies by Verma's former business associate C Edmonds Allen, as reported by The Indian Express on July 14.

Instead, he shifted all responsibility to the CBI. "A few months ago, complaints reached us. It was serious. We quickly referred it to the CBI and they are inquiring aggressively," he said.

However, the CBI has registered only one case against Verma on an alleged deal with Rheinmetall to get it off the government's blacklist.

The other, more serious charge of leaking hundreds of secret documents has not yet been probed as the CBI has not been able to determine if the documents sent were classified. This information, sources said, can only be obtained if the Defence Ministry initiates a probe and advises the CBI to file a case.

Although the latest tranche of documents relating to all the current acquisition plans of the Air Force was sent to the ministry over a month ago, Antony said he did "not know" if they were genuine.

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