Abhishek Verma testifies in cheating-cum-defamation case

Businessman Abhishek Verma on Wednesday recorded his statement in a Delhi court in connection with a cheating-cum-defamation case lodged by him.

New Delhi: Businessman Abhishek Verma on Wednesday recorded his statement in a Delhi court in connection with a cheating-cum-defamation case lodged by him against his two partners, including an American national.

Verma, who is now in judicial custody in Tihar jail along with his Romanian wife Anca Maria Neascu for their alleged roles in corruption and forgery cases, appeared before Metropolitan Magistrate (MM) Surya Malik Grover for recording of his evidence.

The court, which had on July 4 taken cognisance of Verma`s complaint of cheating-cum-defamation against his US partner, had fixed for today the recording of pre-summoning evidence.

Earlier on four occasions, Verma was unable to appear in the court to record his statement in connection with the case as he was under judicial custody as well as under the custody of CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Verma had, in his complaint, alleged his US business partner C Edmonds Allen, an American attorney duly enrolled with the bar counsel at Virginia, and Delhi-based Arjun Arora had duped him of Rs 55 crore which was to be paid to him in return for his consultancy services to them.

During the recording of the statement, Verma said that "in the year 2008, accused no.1 (Allen) came in connivance with accused no.2 (Arora) and hatched a criminal conspiracy to earn wrongful losses for me and for extorting monies.

"Allen induced me that he can take care of my business interests in the USA for better facilitation of charity activities and raising donations by authorization by me as it is not easy for me to travel every time to the USA for presentation and meetings with donors," Verma deposed.

He said Allen had suggested him to do so as it "will make a good business sense".

Verma told the court that he was "induced" by both the accused that he will be "duly reimbursed for rendering consultancy service and for structuring the Indian part of the project" for them.

"That the accused persons owe Rs 55 crore towards me and they defrauded and misrepresented me that they will duly reimburse me for the consultancy service rendered by me," he said.

He told the court that he had requested the duo to make payments towards the consultancy service provided in India by him to the tune of Rs 55 crore.

"The accused (Allen and Arora) blatantly refused to make payments. Instead of making payments, both the accused persons threatened me with dire consequences and false implication in criminal cases," Verma said.

Verma further said Allen and Arora had also forged several e-mails and documents and sent them to the media for maligning his reputation.

The court fixed November 24 for hearing the arguments on summoning of the accused in the case.

Verma had been in judicial custody also in a forgery case registered against them by CBI for allegedly writing a letter to the Prime Minister on a forged letterhead of the then Minister of State for Home Ajay Maken for easing of business visa norms in 2009.

He was granted bail as CBI had failed to file a charge sheet in the forgery case within the stipulated 60 days.

Verma was also granted bail on similar grounds earlier in a corruption case lodged against him and his wife for allegedly receiving USD 5,30,000 from Rheinmetall Air Defence AG for using their influence to stall the firm`s blacklisting by the government here.

However, the couple are still in jail as they are yet to secure bail in a case registered by CBI under the Official Secrets Act.