The U.S. lawyer alleged that Abhishek Verma requested to open accounts and a company in the United States for a certain gentleman called Ashutosh Verma
The Central Bureau of Investigation, which is awaiting prosecution sanction from the Finance Ministry against Indian Revenue Service officer Ashutosh Verma who was arrested along with arms dealer Suresh Nanda and two others in an alleged bribery case four years ago, is probing to ascertain whether he had used his purported links with businessman Abhishek Verma to park a part of the ill-gotten money abroad.
The new lead into the case was provided by C. Edmonds Allen, the estranged U.S.-based business associate of Abhishek Verma. While sharing details of the accounts opened allegedly at the behest of his former business partner, in a letter dated February 28, Mr. Allen mentioned “Abhishek Verma had also made me open a company on behalf of Mr. Ashutosh Verma who is being investigated by the CBI for bribes and I have documentary proof of the same which has been e-mailed to you (Directorate of Enforcement)”.
In another letter to the Indian authorities this January, the U.S. lawyer alleged that Abhishek Verma “requested me to open accounts and a company in the United States for a certain gentleman called Ashutosh Verma, a government official….” The same letter contained photographs purportedly of the former Income Tax officer and Abhishek Verma, suggesting a link between the two persons.
“We are trying to find out if the company/account was to be opened to park a portion of the money allegedly paid to Ashutosh Verma by accused Suresh Nanda to influence the probe against him,” said a CBI source. The agency also found that while under suspension, Ashutosh Verma had allegedly floated a company. Investigations revealed that he had allegedly invested huge sums of money in a property in Goa, but the agency had earlier little clue on where exactly the rest of the bribe amount had been parked.
While the CBI has now sought a prosecution sanction from the Finance Ministry against Ashutosh Verma, it is also finalising the charge-sheet against him. A CBI team that is visiting the United States to record Mr. Allen’s statement next month in connection with Abhishek Verma may also seek from him details of the company his estranged business associate had allegedly asked him to set up on behalf of the former Income Tax officer.
Ashutosh Verma was arrested along with Mr. Nanda, his son and a chartered accountant in Mumbai in 2008. However, the accused got bail as the CBI could not file the charge-sheet within the stipulated time period. Mr. Verma was then reinstated.