CBI to grill Nandas for three days

March 11th, 2008 - 8:59 pm ICT by admin  


New Delhi, March 11 (IANS) A Delhi court Tuesday sent defence middleman Suresh Nanda and his son Sanjeev Nanda to the custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for three days for interrogation about income tax documents found during searches conducted at their premises. CBI special judge I.K. Kochhar also sent Income Tax Deputy Director Ashutosh Verma and Suresh Nanda’s chartered accountant Bipin Shah to CBI custody for three days.

The CBI contended in the court that certain “internal” documents of the Income Tax department were recovered from the premises of the accused and they needed to be interrogated in this regard.

The court allowed the lawyers of the accused to meet them daily for 20 minutes in the presence of CBI officials but denied them permission to meet their family members.

The CBI arrested the four people Saturday night from Mumbai’s J.W. Marriott hotel where they had allegedly assembled for “further negotiations” on the amount of bribe to be paid to Verma to prepare a report to help Suresh Nanda in a 2007 income tax case.

Verma argued in the court that he had already submitted a report in the case on Feb 22, much before his arrest.

The investigating agency told the court that though Verma did not give a report favourable to Suresh Nanda, he had diluted the case by fudging account books.

“The accused is needed to be interrogated to find out how much dilution has been there,” CBI counsel V.P. Singh said.

Suresh Nanda’s lawyer Siddharth Luthra countered the CBI plea for custody by alleging that the agency’s case came up after the Supreme Court asked it to return his client’s passport.

“That is the sting not forgotten so far. And Suresh is in for serious trouble,” Luthra said.

Suresh Nanda, son of former Indian Navy chief Admiral S.M. Nanda and one of the biggest arms dealers in the country, has also been accused of receiving Rs.4 million in kickbacks after a deal to purchase Israeli Barak missiles was signed during the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

Sanjeev Nanda is also accused of mowing down six people in the capital with his BMW car in 1999.

Sanjeev Nanda’s counsel contended that his presence at the hotel was a mere coincidence as he had gone to Mumbai to meet some financers for his new project and had only accompanied his father to the meeting.

“The CBI has already interrogated me since my arrest on March 9. They have seized only Rs.3,000 from my pocket and they say I was there to bribe crores of rupees,” lawyer Ramesh Gupta contended on behalf of Sanjeev Nanda.

The CBI had claimed to have recovered Rs.5.5 million unaccounted money from Bipin Shah’s residence in Mumbai. However, Shah told the court he had sold a piece of land and the money was from that deal.

Shah was arrested by the CBI for allegedly striking a multi-million deal with Verma at the behest of Suresh Nanda.

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