Varun Gandhi honeytrapped by arms dealers, claims American whistleblower

Varun Gandhi denies being honeytrapped by arms dealers. all charges falseVarun Gandhi denies being honeytrapped by arms dealers. all charges false

American whistleblower C Edmonds Allen has claimed in a letter to PM Modi that BJP leader and MP Varun Gandhi was honey trapped by arms dealer Abhishek Verma. Allen reportedly submitted dozens of photographs to back his claim and also sent letters to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and NSA Ajit Doval. Varun Gandhi used to be a member of the Defense Consultative Committee, said several media reports.

Varun Gandhi has denied the reports, claiming that while he knew Abhishek Verma from his college days, he never met him when he was MP. Gandhi has claimed if any such pictures exist, they are ‘morphed’.

In a September 16 letter sent to the PMO, Allen alleges Gandhi is being blackmailed by the arms dealer. Allen has provided a CD with several dozen photographs.

The PMO did not respond to a detailed questionnaire sent by ET. Varun Gandhi told ET said that the charges “are too ridiculous to comment on”. Allen told ET that he wants a probe into the matter and that he decided to write to the PM as he is a ‘man of action’.

Gandhi is no longer on the defence consultative committee and senior leaders in BJP said documents or information of classified nature are not usually shared with members of the parliamentary committee.

Allen was earlier an escrow agent for Verma and had shared several hundred documents with Indian authorities in 2012 that led to several cases being registered against the arms dealer, including one under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), as sensitive defence ministry documents were leaked.

About arms dealer Abhishek Verma:

Abhishek Verma is an arms dealer and the main suspect in the Scorpene submarines deal, AgustaWestland VVIP helicopters bribery scandal and Navy War Room Leak Case. He is married to Anca Verma a former Miss Universe Romania. Verma’s father, Shrikant Verma, was a leading journalist before Indira Gandhi brought him into the Congress Party and made him a member of the 1976 Indian Parliament. His mother, Veena Verma, served for fourteen years as a Member of Parliament, and served the Congress Party as Vice-President, responsible for the Mahila Congress.

Verma is the main witness in 1984 Sikh Riots genocide case against Congress Leader Jagdish Tytler. The courts in December 2015 directed the CBI to record his testimony as witness in this case against Tytler. In the international defence and armament companies circles Verma is known as the Lord of War‘.

In 2006, Verma was accused by the opposition political party BJP of receiving kickbacks amounting to around US$200 million, through a US$4.5 billion Indian Military deal, as a consequence of the Indian government purchasing six Scorpène-class submarines from Thales. The BJP raised this in Parliament, pointing out his proximity to the Congress party, and alleged he had gained the agency to negotiate the contract with Thales as a result of bribing certain Congress Party politicians.

Verma and Thales immediately denied all the allegations, and launched a lawsuit against The Outlook Magazine, which had been the first to break the story in February 2006. He also sued the former BJP Deputy Prime Minister of India, L. K. Advani, for criminal defamation; Advani had campaigned against Abhishek, demanding the Government charge the latter with corruption.

In 2009 the Delhi High Court exonerated Verma when the Central Bureau of Investigation published their report into the allegations: they stated that the monies received by him was not a result of the submarine sale. On 7 June 2012, CBI raided Verma’s 10 premises and establishments in India after registration of cases of corruption and money laundering.

In 2013, Verma was named a suspect in the AgustaWestland 12 VVIP helicopters scandal to the Indian Government for massive bribes exceeding Euros 50 million were paid to the Indian politicians including Sonia Gandhi as alleged by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy. He is suspected to have played the role as the middleman in the chopper deal and the nexus was exposed by TimesNow TV with their global investigation.[23][24][25]

Due to various other arms deal-related cases that Verma and his wife are alleged to have been involved in, the government attempted to freeze their secret bank accounts in Liechtenstein, which are said to hold over US$500 million; however the Liechtenstein authorities rejected the Indian government’s request to open the accounts in 2015.

When Enforcement Directorate raids were carried out at Verma’s residences, among the goods seized were 36 paintings, valued at over US$5 million and high end designer watches worth US$1 million.

In June 2012, Verma was arrested and charged with corruption and money laundering; the trial commenced in December 2015.

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