CBI officials threatened me in custody: Suresh Nanda

March 11th, 2008 - 11:51 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 11 (IANS) Arrested arms dealer Suresh Nanda told a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court Tuesday that officials of the central probe agency had been threatening him. “We have received threats from CBI officials that in case the agency gets our custody they will ’see’ us,” Suresh Nanda told the special CBI judge when asked if he was being troubled since his arrest in Mumbai Saturday night.

The CBI, however, refuted the allegations.

“We are interrogated more for other cases than the present case. They should be restricted from doing so,” Suresh Nanda added.

Dubbed as a defence middleman, Suresh Nanda has been accused of receiving kickbacks in various defence deals, including in the purchase of Barak missiles from Israel in 2000.

He has been arrested by the CBI for allegedly bribing Income Tax deputy director Ashutosh Verma to prepare a favourable report in an income tax case registered against him in 2007. Suresh Nanda, his son Sanjeev, chartered accountant Bipin Shah and Income Tax official Ashutosh Verma were arrested in Mumbai.

As Suresh Nanda, along with Sanjeev, was brought to the court, his wife Renu gave them ‘prasad’ and gave a peck on their cheeks with an emotional “god bless you”.

Renu Nanda was also permitted by the court to meet her son Sanjeev for half an hour. No one has been allowed to meet the four accused since their arrests Saturday night.

Suresh Nanda, who was wearing a white striped shirt, asked for a proper medical check-up and medicines, saying he was suffering from spondylitis.

Verma, an Indian Revenue Service officer of 1999 batch, told the court he was a patient of hypertension and needed medication.

“Verma’s blood pressure shot up after he was told in Mumbai that he would be arrested. We had taken him to J.J. Hospital for treatment. Today (Tuesday) all the accused were taken for medical check-up,” the CBI told the court.

The court directed the CBI to regularly arrange for regular medical check-ups and medication for the accused.

Explaining the payment of bribe to Verma, the investigating agency said that the taxman was given gold bangles by Suresh Nanda’s chartered accountant Bipin Shah at Delhi’s Intercontinental Hotel.

The agency said that visiting cards in the name of one “Shakti Verma” were recovered from the possession of Ashutosh Verma, which he used at the Mumbai hotel to fake his identity.

Late night searches conducted by the agency at the premises of all the accused led to the recovery of Rs.5.5 million unaccounted cash from Shah’s office premises.

“We have also recovered certain internal documents of Income tax from the possession of the other accused pointing towards their conspiratorial role,” the CBI said.

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