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2009 Pilatus deal case: Court refuses to cancel LOC against accused Verma

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New Delhi, June 8 (Ajit Weekly News) A Delhi court on Wednesday refused to quash a Lookout Circular (LOC) issued against Himanshu Verma, an accused linked with the 2009 Rs 2,895.63 crore Pilatus aircraft deal case, in which irregularities were found in the procurement of 75 basic trainer aircraft.

During the course of the hearing, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said the money involved in the present case is more than Rs 340 crores and the main accused, arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari, hiding somewhere in London, is yet to be arrested.

Verma argued that he has been granted permission to travel abroad from other courts on April 12. He submitted that he has joined the probe whenever the Investigating Officer asked him and has not been intimated about LOC to date. He came to know about the lookout circular when he was restrained by the Immigration authorities, he submitted.

On the other hand, the CBI said that Verma is found to have run various shell companies and facilitated various transactions as well as aided other accused persons in transferring money in various heads. Till now transaction of about Rs 40 crore is stated to have been facilitated by him, it said.

Following the submissions, Special Judge Prashant Kumar of Rouse Avenue Court observed that none of the facts alleged by the CBI has been controverted.

“Investigation is stated to be pending not only against the accused but against other accused persons as well. It is further reflected from the submissions of the Investigating Officer that all the business of the accused which are outside India and documents pertaining thereto are yet to be verified. Accused is admittedly having his business outside India as well,” the court said in the order.

A case has been registered in 2019 against Bhandari and Bimal Sarren, both directors of Offset India Solutions Pvt Ltd, as well as officials of Swiss-based plane-maker Pilatus Aircrafts Ltd over alleged irregularities in the procurement of the basic trainer aircraft in 2009.

Bhandari’s companies Offset India Solutions Private Ltd and Dubai-based Offset India Solutions FZC, as well as his associates including Verma, were named as accused in the case.

As per the case, the Indian Air Force on December 16, 2009, issued a request proposal for the procurement of 75 basic trainer aircraft and Pilatus Aircraft Switzerland was one of the bidders.

To obtain the contract, Pilatus Aircraft entered into a criminal conspiracy with Sareen and Bhandari by fraudulently signing a Service Provider Agreement with the latter in June 2010 in violation of the Defence Procurement Procedure 2008.

–Ajit Weekly News

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