New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has dismissed the bail pleas of arms dealer Abhishek Verma's Romanian wife Anca Maria Neacsu and a former Wing Commander of the Indian Air Force, Koka Rao, in a case registered against them by CBI for violation of Official Secrets Act (OSA).
Anca and Rao's bail pleas were rejected by the court in view of the "gravity of the offence" allegedly committed by them as they have been accused of possessing secret defence documents and supplying them to foreign nationals.
Justice Sunil Gaur was also of the view that it would be "premature" to "opine" that Section 3 (for passing sensitive information) of OSA is not attracted to the facts of the case.
"Upon considering the submissions advanced by both the sides and the material on record, I find that it would be premature for this Court to opine that Section 3 of Official Secrets Act, 1923 is not attracted to the facts of this case....
"The gravity of the offence is such which dissuades this Court to exercise its discretion to grant bail to both the petitioners at this stage....," the court said.
Anca and Rao had sought bail on the ground that probe in the matter is complete and they have been in custody for the last two and half years, therefore, their further detention would serve no purpose as the trial is likely to take time.
Verma, Anca, their company Ganton India Pvt Ltd and Rao have been named in the charge sheet by CBI under Section 3 of OSA and also for criminal conspiracy and theft from a place for custody of property under Indian Penal Code.
They are at present in judicial custody in the case.
The charge sheet had said copies of documents related to the three wings of Indian Defence forces were obtained by them from the Ministry of Defence, defence establishments and from those employed in Internet infrastructure (including Skype and email) to communicate secret and sensitive information to unauthorised persons.
CBI had said in the charge sheet that Verma and Anca
first came in contact with Edmond Allen and persuaded him to do business through them. For this purpose, they incorporated Ganton Ltd, US.
During the period 2009-11, they also got incorporated other companies namely Ganton India Pvt Ltd and Sig Sauer India Ltd.
Verma, Anca and their associates, in a clandestine manner and after hatching well-planned conspiracy, obtained possession of these documents (secret documents) for any purpose prejudicial to safety and interest of India, CBI had said.
The agency said the secret documents also contained a scanned copy of handwritten notes pertaining to revenue procurements of IAF and that was when Rao was called to join the investigation and his specimen handwriting was taken.
CBI had said the Defence Ministry had received a letter from Verma's business partner and Ganton Pvt Ltd's President C Edmond Allen with some documents annexed to it.
Upon verification, eight of the annexed documents were found to be "secret" and a complaint was made to CBI by the ministry following which a case was registered.
The agency said the eight documents found to be secret were summary of upgrade package, annual acquisition plan 2004, summary of filter projects which was a print from database prepared by Air headquarters for monitoring IAF projects and draft aircraft filter projects.
The secret documents also contained handwritten notes of projects of IAF, general staff qualitative requirement for holographic sights for rifle and carbine and notes pertaining to revenue procurement of various directorates of Air headquarters.