The Enforcement Directorate probing the money trail on both the domestic and international transactions made purportedly by businessman Abhishek Verma, who is presently in judicial custody and under Central Bureau of Investigation scrutiny on multiple charges, has so far been unable to pinpoint even a single major property registered in his name in India.
The agency took up investigations into the transactions allegedly made by or on behalf of Mr. Verma after the CBI registered a case against him and his Romanian wife Anca Maria Neacsu last year for allegedly receiving $5,30,000 from blacklisted Swiss defence equipment supplier Rheinmetall Air Defence (RAD) AG through U.S.-based front company Ganton Limited to stall the process of its blacklisting by bribing public servants in India.
Subsequently, Mr. Verma was booked by the CBI in two other cases, one for allegedly forging a CBI officer’s letter and another under the Official Secrets Act for allegedly having procured Defence-related confidential documents.
A couple of months ago, the Enforcement Directorate visited the United States and met attorney C. Edmonds Allen, the estranged business associate of Mr. Verma who earlier blew the lid off the purported illegal activities of the Indian businessman after they fell out and forwarded documents to the agencies here in a bid to substantiate his charges. According to agency sources, they obtained certified copies of the papers earlier submitted by him so that they could be admissible as evidence in an Indian court. They also quizzed Mr. Allen, who is president of Ganton Limited, on the transactions allegedly made by Mr. Verma.
It is learnt that the suspicious RAD-Ganton Limited link is also being probed by the FBI in the US.
While the ED hopes to get some vital transaction details from institutions based in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, it is yet to connect Mr. Verma to any immovable property in India as most of the properties previously in his possession were either leased in the name of some company or any other person. The Delhi farmhouse where he was living prior to his arrest was also on lease by the Indian subsidiary of Ganton Limited US.
Interestingly, although Mr. Verma used luxury vehicles none of them was apparently registered in his name. The agency, which has to attach illegal wealth of the accused, has reportedly come across only one vehicle in his name but that too is of little economic significance. Although Mr. Allen has provided the agency with transaction details on the alleged money transfer, it is to ascertain whether any part of that amount went into Mr. Verma’s pocket and if so, how.
The agency has also studied several debit, credit card transactions, but nothing big seems to have been unearthed so far.