CBI nabs arms dealer Suresh Nanda, his son

March 9th, 2008 - 7:40 pm ICT by admin  

(Second Lead)

New Delhi, March 9 (IANS) The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested arms dealer Suresh Nanda, accused of receiving kickbacks in the purchase of Israeli Barak missiles in 2000, and his son Sanjeev from Mumbai for allegedly bribing an Income Tax official to fudge their account books, the probe agency said Sunday. Nandas were produced in a Mumbai court, which granted transit remand to the CBI. They are likely to be brought to the capital later Sunday, and be produced in a court.

“They will be produced in a Delhi court tomorrow (Monday),” CBI spokesman G. Mohanty told IANS.

The CBI arrested Suresh Nanda, son of former Indian Navy chief Admiral S.M. Nanda, and his son Sanjeev late Saturday from a hotel in Mumbai.

Apart from the father and son, the CBI also nabbed their chartered accountant Vipin Shah and Income Tax deputy director Ashutosh Kumar. The four accused have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act.

“The Directorate of Income Tax (Investigation) conducted raids in 2007 at the premises of Suresh Nanda, during which several incriminating documents showing his involvement and that of his associates in different defence deals were recovered. The accused Income Tax deputy director (Investigation) was handling the probe then. He had taken huge amount of bribe from Suresh and Sanjeev in order to favour them in the investigation report,” a CBI statement said Sunday.

According to the premier investigating agency, the four arrested men had assembled at a hotel in Mumbai to discuss a way to bail the Nandas out in the income tax case.

“Shah had allegedly struck a deal with Kumar at the behest of Suresh and Sanjeev Nanda. The four had assembled at the hotel for further negotiations on the bribe amount,” the CBI said.

According to the CBI, “After receiving huge money, Kumar deliberately suppressed the incriminating material in his possession in the investigation report prepared by him in order to save the Nandas and their associates from any impending prosecution by the CBI and other agencies.”

The agency has also recovered the draft investigation report prepared by Shah after making the changes as demanded by Suresh Nanda.

The CBI has been tightening the noose around Suresh Nanda for quite a long time. Suresh was interrogated by CBI sleuths several times at the agency’s headquarters. The ministry of external affairs had earlier suspended his passport on the CBI’s request.

Suresh Nanda is one of the biggest arms dealers in the country while Sanjeev Nanda is accused of mowing down six people in an inebriated state with his BMW in 1999.

The CBI has accused Suresh Nanda of receiving Rs.4 million ($99,943.82) in kickbacks after a deal to purchase Israeli Barak missiles was signed during the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime.

The $100 million (Rs.3.9 billion) deal had come under the scanner after it was alleged that then defence minister George Fernandes had overruled, at the behest of Suresh Nanda, the opinion of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) that it could develop a system similar to the Barak.

The CBI Sunday conducted searches at about 20 premises of the four accused people in New Delhi, Ghaziabad, Mumbai and Goa and recovered cash worth millions of rupees and a large number of other documents.

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