ED seizes over 3 dozen paintings from Abhishek Verma`s properties

Enforcement Directorate seized three dozen paintings and documents from premises of arms dealer Abhishek Verma after searches were carried out by sleuths in connection with money laundering probe.

PTI| Updated: Jan 28, 2014, 00:18 AM IST

New Delhi: Enforcement Directorate (ED) has seized over three dozen high-value paintings and documents from the premises of arms dealer Abhishek Verma after fresh searches were carried out by sleuths in connection with the money laundering probe against the businessman and his associates.
Sources said a team of ED officials went to four premises in the national capital on January 25 and amongst the seizures are 39 paintings by popular artists like M F Husain, Anjolie Ela Menon and others.

Some hand-written notes of transactions by Verma to few people including Rs four crore payments made to an associate based in Dubai were also seized, they said.

Verma and his wife Anca Maria Neacsu are at present lodged in the Tihar jail in Delhi in a CBI-ED probe for allegedly receiving money from a Swiss firm to stall its blacklisting proceedings by Indian government.

This case was followed by registration of a forgery case against Verma.

Sources said while Verma`s farm house on Church road was searched, his aunt`s house on Minto road in central Delhi and associates premises in Panchsheel Park and Palam were also raided.

The seized 39 paintings are being sent for valuation by the agency.

The ED has also seized a number of electronic gadgets during the searches which include an I-phone, a laptop, pen drives, hard drives and similar devices.

A golden Rolex brand watch allegedly belonging to Neacsu has also been seized besides a number of documents, sources said.

The ED, according to records, also went for survey operations on the official premises of arms dealing firm Ganton India, Sig Sauer the same day but no recoveries were made from these establishments.

While the ED has already filed a Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) case against Verma, his wife and others last year, it may register one more criminal case to take its probe further, sources said.