New Delhi: Businessman Abhishek Verma and his Romanian wife, arrested for allegedly receiving money from a Swiss arms firm for keeping it out of the Indian government`s blacklist, were sent by a Delhi court to the CBI custody for seven days.
"Both the accused are remanded in the CBI custody till June 16," Special CBI Judge Talwant Singh said.
Verma and his newly-wed Romanian wife, Ancia Neascu, were arrested yesterday by the CBI after registration of a fresh case by the agency against them.
In the new case, Verma has been accused of taking USD 530,000 from Rheinmetall Air Defence AG (RAD) for using his influence to stall the blacklisting proceedings initiated by the government against it after the Ordnance Factory Board scam had surfaced.
The CBI produced the couple before the special CBI court and sought their custody for 12 days saying the investigation in the case is going on and they need to unearth the entire conspiracy.
Advocate Vijay Aggarwal, appearing for Vermas, opposed the CBI`s remand application saying the agency had searched their premises on June 7 and his clients were in the CBI`s office since yesterday morning.
The counsel said the freedom of his clients has been restrained by the CBI for the last two days and said even the case diary produced before the court is not in a proper manner as contemplated under the Criminal Procedure Code.
He argued that the agency, in its remand application, has said they need custody of both the accused as they are not giving passwords of some of their email-ids.
Aggarwal said, "The CBI`s other ground for seeking remand is that my clients might destroy the vital evidence. I want to say that I (my clients) did not know anything more.
"They want to have my remand for 12 days only to know the passwords of the email ids. The CBI should be more responsible in seeking remand."
He also said the CBI had illegally seized the passport of Ancia Neascu and she wants to meet the Romanian ambassador here.
On this, the special judge told the counsel to move an application for the same at an appropriate stage.
Opposing the remand application for Neascu, Aggarwal argued that her arrest was illegal as she was taken into custody by a male officer, that too after sunset, that is, at 7.15 PM yesterday.
He said as per the provisions of the CrPC, a woman cannot be arrested after sunset and before sunrise and a female officer should take her into custody.
The case diary too was not paginated and numbered, said the counsel adding that the rights of an accused cannot be taken away due to administrative problem of the CBI.
Aggarwal also accused the CBI of inflicting "third degree torture" to Verma and his wife "to extract their confession and disclose something which they do not know".
"Both my clients are ready to give statement that whatever they knew about this FIR, they have already told the police. Now nothing remains which require their custody," he said.
During the arguments, the CBI`s prosecutor VK Sharma told the court that investigation in the case is going on and the case diary is in proper conditions.
The CBI, in its remand application, said they need custody of the accused to confront them with the emails and the documents seized during the investigation.
The court directed the CBI to get the accused medically examined in a government hospital today and after every 48 hours in its custody.
It also allowed Verma`s counsel to meet them everyday for 30 minutes in the CBI custody.
The duo had been questioned yesterday by the CBI sleuths regarding transactions of funds between Ganton India and Ganton USA, which are claimed to be his front companies, and about his business relationships with estranged associate C Edmon Allen who has levelled a series of allegations against him with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The CBI had also questioned the then Director of the Swiss defence company Mohinder Sahni and Arjun Arora whose houses were searched yesterday.
The CBI booked the company, Verma and unnamed persons under various sections the Prevention of Corruption Act which relate to giving bribe to influence public servants and carries a punishment of six months to five year.
Recently, Verma had moved a Delhi court with a complaint against his former partner Allen accusing him of cheating him of Rs 55 crore and forging documents and emails to defame him.
Allen had filed the complaint with the CBI Director and other top officials accusing Verma of receiving funds from RAD for bailing it out.