New York, March 18: New documents being examined by the FBI and the CBI suggest that between June and December 2011 US arms manufacturer Sig Sauer allegedly agreed to pay an illegal 10% commission via a web of shell companies to controversial arms dealer Abhishek Verma, who is currently in jail along with his wife Anca Neacsu.
Documents, messages on Blackberry Messenger (BBM) and emails also suggest that government officials were bribed to help Sig Sauer get on the shortlist for valuable contracts.
Mr Verma and his wife were allegedly able to have parts of the Home Ministry shot on hidden camera; the videos were submitted over the internet on June 24, 2011 to the arms manufacturer as proof of its access to government officials .
In 2011, Sig Sauer formed a new company with Ms Neacsu called Sig Sauer Asia LLC. Though she was allegedly providing software services to Sig, the joint venture, according to CBI, was a front for commissions and kickbacks that were paid from the US manufacturer for deals with the Defence and Home Ministries.
What Sig Sauer allegedly wanted was a chunk of the 38,0000-crore modernization budget created by the Home Ministry for procurement of different weapons for different police and para military forces.
Sig Sauer also wanted to bag a contract for over $1 bn or Rs 5,500 crore from the Indian Army which wants to replace all its INSAS assault rifles. Sig and four other companies are under consideration for the deal. This is only the third time since Independence that India will replace all its rifles.
Although some documents show that Sig had submitted a pre-contract ’integrity pact’ to the Defence Ministry, there is no clarity if the contract was accepted by the ministry. The deal has not been assigned yet to any manufacturer.
Documents whose authenticity is being determined by the CBI also show that two payments, both apparently illicit, were made by the US manufacturer in 2011 in a deal for sniper rifles for use by the the Indian Army and state police forces.
$50,000 was allegedly paid as a bribe to government officials via Mr Verma’s shell companies to have an anonymous complaint against Sig Sauer removed from government records for a tender for army sniper rifles. CBI officials claim $125,000 was paid separately to Mr Verma and his associates for landing an order for rifles for state police forces from the Ministry of Home Affairs