Bharatiya Janata Party MP Varun Gandhi on Thursday denied allegations of having leaked defence secrets to arms dealer Abhishek Verma. His statement came hours after a letter to the Prime Minister's Office, which claimed that Gandhi was being blackmailed for information with photographs of him with sex workers and foreign escorts, was released at a press conference, according to NDTV.
Gandhi, who was once part of the parliament's defence consultative committee, said the allegations were "baseless" and "too ridiculous" for comments. He also threatened to sue Swaraj Abhiyan founders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav for defamation. Moreover, senior BJP leaders clarified that classified information is rarely shared with members of the consultative parliamentary committee, according to The Economic Times.
The letter to the PMO, dated September 16, was written by United Sates-based lawyer C Edmonds Allen, who was once Verma's escrow fund manager. Allen alleged that Verma had been blackmailing the BJP MP with the photos to get him to reveal defence details to arms manufacturers so they could get contracts for India. He also accused Gandhi of "compromising national security". Gandhi, however, refuted the allegations as baseless and said he had not met the controversial arms dealer since he was in London at the age of 22.
Allen and Verma were business partners before they fell out in 2012 and accused each other of cheating and money laundering. Allen had also given Indian investigators ample proof against Verma to implicate him in a number of cases. One such set of documents showed that Verma, along with Congress leader Jagdish Tytler's son Siddharth, had entered into a telecom joint venture called Corewip in 2012 in Cyprus. Corewip had later complained to the PMO that Verma and Siddharth had swindled them of $1.1 million (around Rs 7.35 crore), according to The Indian Express.
Verma was also arrested and later released in a case known as the navy war room leak, which involved the selling of sensitive secrets of the Indian Navy by both serving and former military officers.