Billionaire, Abhishek Verma, a well-known industrialist and philathropist, was acquitted by Delhi court due to lack of evidence. According to media reports, Abhishek Verma was given the ‘benefit of doubt’, but actual investigations reveal the absence of implicating evidence(s).
On December 17, 1999, Verma had a case registered against him on the allegations that he registered at FIR of his passport being missing on August 23, 1999, whereas the Enforcement Directorate (ED) claimed that his passport had been impounded previously on July 16, 1999 during a raid by the Income Tax department.
Contrary to the above, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Ashu Garg stated that no seizure memo was drafted by the ED after the ‘seizure’ of the passport. The CMM maintains that no such document has even been executed at the ED office, which negates the fact that Abhishek Verma’s passport was impounded.
The Delhi court said that “even if it is accepted that the passport of the accused was ‘taken’ by some ED official for verification, technically speaking, that would not amount to seizure or impounding of the passport”. The court added, “If the passport was taken only for verification, it is not understood as to under what authority the passport was retained by the ED”.
Abhishek Verma, in his defence, said that the passport was taken by the Enforcement Directorate for photocopying and later returnedto him in a few minutes and then Income Tax Dept seized it but also returned the same and this fact was recorded in the combined seizure memos drawn up by Income Tax Dept prior to conclusion of the raid. Verma was also summoned by ED a few days after the raid at his residence ‘alongwith his passport’.
The court acknowledged Abhishek Verma’s reason and further stated that there was no need of ED to seize or ‘impound’ his passport if he had to appear before them on July 19, 1999. The court further clarified, “There is no witness on record on behalf of the ED who could categorically depose that the original passport of the accused was in the ED custody even after July 16, 1999”.
As per Verma’s counsels the case was politically motivated by the Enforcement Directorate as he had deposed as a witness/approver against the Deputy Director of Enforcement Directorate Ashok Aggarwal on 2nd December 1999 in a case of the CBI against Aggarwal, and thus the officers of ED sought revenge with Verma at the behest of their superior officer who was under suspension due to Verma’s testimony to the CBI.