New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday ordered attachment of over a dozen high-end branded watches belonging to arms dealer Abhishek Verma and his wife in connection with a probe against them for allegedly receiving money from a Swiss defence firm to keep it out of the government`s blacklist.
The watches have been termed as "proceeds of crime" by the agency which seized them under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Sixteen watches, worth Rs 44 lakh, sport some of the finest and most popular international tags including Rolex, Luminor Panerai, Hubolt Geneve, Louis Vuitton, Blancpain, Bvlgari, Franck Muller, Gianni Versace, Omega, Franck Muller, Calvin Klein Jeans, Piaget, Ulyssee Nardin and Longiness.
Verma`s wife Ancia Neascu also owns a few watches in this costly collection including a personal classic steel-coloured time machine.
The wrist watches were handed over to the agency by the CBI sometime back after they had recovered these costly timepieces during a search on the premises of Verma.
Sources said the attachment proceedings in the case have been initiated in order to cripple the beneficiary (Verma and wife) from enjoying the benefits arising out from the assets and more such action will follow in sometime which includes some other immovable and immovable assets of the businessman who is under arrest at present.
"The PMLA has provisions to seize such assets so that the crime proceeds could be identified and nailed," they said.
The ED had begun probe against Verma and his wife on the basis of the CBI complaint against Verma where he has been accused of taking USD 5,30,000 from Swiss firm 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 (OFB) scam had surfaced. Verma is already being probed by the agency in the Naval
war room leak case for alleged violations of foreign exchange laws.
The agency is also working on a complaint filed by Verma in a court alleging that his US-based business partner C Edmonds Allen, an American attorney, and Delhi-based Arjun Arora had duped him of Rs 55 crore, which was to be paid to him in lieu of his consultancy service provided to them.