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'Probe middleman's allegations on fabricated e-mails'

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Mar 25: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today (Mar 25, 2006) asked the government to probe the claims of Thales' top official Jean-Paul Perrier and businessman Abhishek Verma, over alleged payoffs in the multi-billion Scorpene submarine deal, that e-mails exchanged between them were "fake and fabricated".

BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar told newspersons that if their claims are genuine then fabrication of e-mails was a crime under the cyber laws. Therefore, it was the duty of the government to investigate when a person alleges that e-mails have been forged in his name, he added.

Mr Verma, who claims to have struck the defence deal on behest of the Congress Party should be arrested and interrogated on the money trail involving four per cent of the deal, as kickbacks, he added.

Asking the government to dump the Scorpene deal he said Mr Verma, who has been charged with possessing a fake passport and many other crimes, yesterday threatened to file defamation suits against Leader of the Opposition L K Advani, NDA convenor George Fernandes and former Finance Minister Jaswant Singh.

He said the government was silent on the information provided by the NDA on the money trail between Thales and Verma.

While the Naval officers involved have been sacked, civilians and foreign nationlas involved in the deal were moving scot-free and even making allegations against the Opposition, Mr Javadekar said.

The Navy had openly admitted in the Court that certain foreigners were involved in the war room leak endangering national security.

However, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, referring to leak of classified information from the Indian Navy War Room, said this did not relate to the Scorpene deal and posession of 'commercial information' was not a crime.

When a reporter pointed out that the NDA also dealt with Thales during its tenure, the BJP Spokesman said the Opposition was not questioning the quality of the Scorpene submarine.

''There were discussions on the technical aspects and the Oppostiion did not question the usefulness of the equipment, he said.

''We are opposed to corruption and hence urge the government to scrap the deal,'' he added.

He said the best way out for the situation is to have a probe headed by a retired High Court judge and scrap the submarine deal.


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