Letter to PMO office by arms dealer’s aid alleges BJP lawmaker Varun Gandhi leaked defence information after being honeytrapped and blackmailed
NewDelhi,Oct21:An explosive letter written to the prime minister’s office (PMO) by lawyer C Edmonds Allen who had an epic falling out with his former client, Verma, four years ago ,contains details of a honey trap by Abhishek Verma.
BJP lawmaker Varun Gandhi leaked crucial information about defence matters after being “honey-trapped” and blackmailed by arms dealer Abhishek Verma, a US-based whistleblower has accused. Gandhi has emphatically denied all the charges.
India Today TV has accessed an explosive letter written to the prime minister’s office (PMO) by lawyer C Edmonds Allen who had an epic falling out with his former client, Verma, four years ago.
“This gentleman (Varun Gandhi) participates in immoral activities with prostitutes arranged by Abhishek Verma. He also meets management of defense companies at private parties solicits business on Abhishek Verma’s behest,” says the letter.
Allen has alleged that Gandhi, as member of the parliamentary defence committee, had access to information that was shared with Verma to “compromise national security’.” The seven-page letter goes on to say that the BJP MP stood “compromised” because of his pictures with foreign escorts and prostitutes.
Verma too has denied the charges.
The letter, dated September 16, is from C Edmonds Allen, a US-based lawyer, an aide of Verma.
Allen’s letter to the PMO dated 16 September 2016 also names top former commanders of the air force and navy for conspiracy in leaking sensitive data. One of the officers is a coaccused in the Navy War Room Leak scandal of 2005. Allen was a close aide of Verma before their relationship soured. He has also sent a copy of the letter to defence minister Manohar Parrikar and national security adviser Ajit Doval. Allen has alleged that Verma had access to defence secrets including the minutes of the meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council till 2011, despite being an accused in the Navy War Room Leak scandal.
Varun Gandhi termed the accusations “baseless and ridiculous”.
“I was horrified at the wild allegations made. What I didn’t see, however, was a shred or iota of evidence, proof or fact linking me to these insane rumours,” he told Mail Today. “Anybody who knows the defence committee knows it has no access to confidential information.”
The MP insisted he had not met Verma since 2003. “I have taken this attempt to tarnish my name very seriously and will file a criminal defamation suit against these people,” he said. An avowed “witness” and Verma’s friend, Vikki Chowdhary, told Mail Today he had seen Varun Gandhi’s pictures with foreign escorts at the arms dealer’s parties.
“They are not new pictures. I have seen them. I had gone to his farmhouse and he showed me the pictures. It’s like A4-size blown up pictures on glossy paper,” he claimed.
Abhishek Verma, however, denied the honey-trap and blackmail charges as a “malicious campaign” by his former legal adviser. “These are salacious allegations. I have no pictures and neither honey-trapped nor have I blackmailed Varun Gandhi,” he told Mail Today.
After their falling out in January 2012 over money, Allen passed on a series of documents to the Central Bureau of Investigation, which led to Verma being investigated and jailed allegedly for leaking sensitive defence-related information to arms dealers and companies. But in a scathing attack on the central government, senior lawyer and founder member of Swaraj Abhiyan Prashant Bhushan alleged that the prime minister’s office was aware of the leak, yet took no action.
Gandhi is no longer on the defence consultative committee and senior leaders in BJP said documents or information of classified nature are not usually shared with members of the parliamentary committee.
Allen was earlier an escrow agent for Verma and had shared several hundred documents with Indian authorities in 2012 that led to several cases being registered against the arms dealer, including one under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), as sensitive defence ministry documents were leaked.
Mr Verma, in a statement, said he rejects “the salacious allegations” made in the letter of complaint and that he neither had Mr Gandhi photographed, nor blackmailed him.
The partnership between Mr Allen and Mr Verma collapsed in January 2012 with the pair swapping accusations of money-laundering, siphoning and cheating. Mr Allen then provided a steady supply of papers against Mr Verma to Indian investigators.
Mr Verma was jailed and investigated in several cases including what is known as the navy war room leak which centred on the selling of sensitive naval secrets by a group that included serving and former military officers. Mr Verma was given bail in 2008 in this case.