Highlights of SC hearing on Verma’s plea

New Delhi:The following are the highlights of the Supreme Court hearing in CBI Director Alok Verma’s petition challenging the Centre’s decision to divest him of all his powers:

– Enquiry into the allegations made in the August 24 note/ letter of the Cabinet Secretary on Verma to be completed by Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) within two weeks.

– The enquiry to be supervised by retired Supreme Court Judge AK Patnaik.

– All decisions taken CBI Joint Director M Nageswara Rao, who has been given the duty of CBI director from October 23 till today to be submitted in sealed cover to SC by November 12, the next date of hearing.

– Rao cannot take any major or policy decision; to continue routine work to keep CBI going.

– After furnishing of list of decisions taken by Rao, SC to pass appropriate orders relating to transfer of investigations, change of Investigating Officers.

– Notice issued to Centre and CVC on Verma’s petition, asked to file responses.

– SC also dealt with plea by NGO Common Cause seeking SIT probe into allegations of corruption against CBI officers including Special Director Rakesh Asthana.

– Notice issued to Centre, CBI, CVC, Asthana, Verma an Rao on the NGO’s plea.

– Asthana approached SC with his petition, to be listed later

Charge sheet against Tytler, Verma in forgery case

The complaint of a forged letter lodged by Congress leader Ajay Maken has led straight to his colleague, Jagdish Tytler. The Central Bureau of Investigation has chargesheeted jailed arms dealer Abhishek Verma and Mr Tytler. The duo have been charged with criminal conspiracy and attempt to cheat.

According to CBI officials, the agency got details of the case from a former American associate of Mr Verma, Edmund Allen. Mr Allen, who has made sensational revelations about Mr Verma and led to a number of investigations against him, sent CBI a letter which appeared to have been written by then minister Ajay Maken to the Prime Minister asking for help in sorting out visa issues of employees of Chinese telecom company, ZTE. The letter was found to be fake after which Mr Maken complained to CBI.

In its chargesheet, CBI says that the case goes back to 2009 when ZTE officials faced deportation because their visas were running out. They approached Mr Verma for help who entered into a deal worth half a million dollars to help the Chinese company. CBI says Mr Verma flaunted his links with Congress leaders and introduced them to Mr Tytler.

Mr Tytler has been implicated in the case because CBI says it is he who produced this fake letter and it was in his home that a meeting was held with representatives of the Chinese company. CBI sources also say that Mr Tytler’s son has been an associate of Mr Verma. But when contacted by NDTV, Mr Tytler said the charges were false. “When the CBI confronted me with Abhishek Verma, they found that I never had such meetings. My call records also proved the same. This is completely false,” he told NDTV.

The agency ruled out Mr Tytler’s arrest for now but he will have to appear in court which will decide further action.

(Source: IANS)

CWG scam: Bhanot, Verma sent to five-day CBI custody

A Delhi court Thursday sent Lalit Bhanot and V.K. Verma, former high ranking officials of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) Organising Committee, to five days’ CBI custody in connection with financial lapses in a contract with a Swiss company.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge Talwant Singh sent the OC’s former secretary general Bhanot and former director general Verma to the probe agency’s custody till March 1.

The CBI in its plea sought seven days’ custody of Bhanot and Verma, against whom it has lodged first information reports (FIRs) for criminal conspiracy and cheating and for violating sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

“Accused persons entered into criminal conspiracy to cheat the government in the manner of awarding contract for timing, scoring and result system to be acquired for the CWG,” said the investigative agency.

“The accused officials of the Organising Committee in conspiracy with others, by abusing their official positions, awarded the contract to Swiss timing company at exorbitant rates of Rs.1.07 billion, in a most wrongful manner, restricting all competitors, and thereby caused huge loss to the government of India and corresponding wrongful gain to the company,” the CBI said.

The court allowed both Bhanot and Verma to have home-cooked food on health grounds.

Defence counsel opposed the CBI application, saying the FIRs against them were based on sources and sources were not always right.

“Media is just highlighting the case and after some time things will clear and you all will get to know the real fact,” Verma told reporters before the hearing.

Speaking before being brought to court, Bhanot said: “We have not done anything wrong. All the decisions were taken collectively by the board and the truth will be out. Media has hyped the matter and I never expected this.”

The CBI Wednesday arrested Verma and Bhanot, who was a key aide of OC chairman Suresh Kalmadi, for irregularities to the tune of Rs.1.07 billion ($23 million) in a contract with the Swiss company for time-keeping equipment for the Oct 3-14, 2010, mega event.