Politics

Varun Gandhi accused of leaking defence secrets

21 Oct 2016 | Written by Supriya Kaur; Edited by Vaneet Randhawa

BJP MP, Varun Gandhi, allegedly leaked defence secrets to an arms dealer, Abhishek Verma.

These stunning accusations were made by a US-based lawyer and whistle-blower, Edmonds Allen, in two letters written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

This controversy came to the fore when contents of Allen's letters were revealed by Swaraj Abhiyan leaders, Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, at a press conference yesterday.

In context: Who leaked India's defence secrets?

The controversyDefence secrets' leak

An international arms dealer turned whistle-blower, C Edmonds Allen, alleged that his former partner, Abhishek Verma, had accessed India's confidential defence secrets and passed them on to arms-manufacturers.

The information was used to facilitate multi-billion dollar Scorpene submarine and Rafale fighter-jet deals with India.

Verma, son of former Congress MP, allegedly accessed confidential information via his personal equations with leaders in BJP and Congress.

Who?Edmonds Allen and Abhishek Verma

C Edmonds Allen and Abhishek Verma were formerly business partners and had a falling out in 2012.

Over the years Allen supplied hundreds of documents to the CBI against Verma which led to him being charged under various offences of the Official Secrets Act.

Verma has been jailed and investigated in multiple defence leak cases and is currently out on bail.

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21 Oct 2016Varun Gandhi accused of leaking defence secrets

Allegations against Varun Gandhi

DetailsAllegations against Varun Gandhi

According to whistle-blower Allen, Varun Gandhi had been blackmailed by Allen's former partner and arms dealer, Abhishek Verma.

Allen claimed that Verma had succeeded in "honey-trapping" Gandhi with CDs and photographs of Gandhi consorting with escorts in "compromising positions".

Gandhi, who is a former member of the parliamentary defence committee, had accessed confidential defence information which he then allegedly shared with Verma.

DetailsInformation provided by whistle-blower

Letters written by Allen are reportedly accompanied by a compact disc that contains hundreds of intimate pictures of Varun Gandhi that have been collated since 2002.

Copies of Allen's letters along with pictures were also sent to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar as well as Ajit Doval, the National Security Advisor.

However, details of these have not yet been released in public.

Who said what?Reactions and responses

Varun Gandhi vehemently rejected all charges and labelled them "totally ridiculous". He said he would "quit politics" if there was a shred of truth in the allegations. Gandhi also said that he hadn't been in touch with Verma for over 15 years.

Arms dealer, Verma, dismissed Allen's claims and said he had not blackmailed Gandhi and is not in possession of any photographic evidence.

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Did the PMO respond?

The Prime Minister's office has yet to officially respond to the content of Allen's letters. Although, Varun Gandhi is no longer empanelled on the defence consultative committee, BJP sources did indicate that information of a classified nature were not shared with members of parliamentary panels.

23 Oct 2016Varun Gandhi left on his own in 'honey trapping' case

BJP MP Varun Gandhi who was left to defend himself in the defence deal scandal has come under fire from his own party members.

MP Shyama Charan Gupta from Allahabad said stringent action by the BJP party's parliamentary board after a detailed probe would ensue.

Gandhi has vehemently denied any wrongdoing or any link to Abhishek Verma who allegedly honey-trapped him.