Suresh Nanda, son arrested over Barak missile deal

March 9th, 2008 - 4:39 pm ICT by admin  


New Delhi, March 9 (IANS) The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested arms dealer Suresh Nanda and his son Sanjeev from Mumbai for allegedly receiving kickbacks in the purchase of Barak missiles from Israel in 2000, the probe agency said Sunday. Suresh Nanda, son of former Indian Navy chief Admiral S.M. Nanda, and his son were arrested late Saturday by the CBI from a hotel in Mumbai.

“It is true,” CBI director Vijay Shanker told IANS confirming the arrests. Apart from the father and son, the CBI also nabbed their chartered accountant Vipin Shah and an Income Tax deputy director Ashutosh Kumar.

“The Directorate of Income Tax (Investigation) had 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 out the Nandas 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.

The CBI has been tightening the noose around Suresh Nanda for quite a long time. Suresh had been 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.

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.

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.

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

Meanwhile, the CBI was Sunday conducting searches at different premises of the four accused people in New Delhi, Ghaziabad, Mumbai and Goa.

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