Arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari booked under Official Secrets Act
Days after a FIR was lodged by a senior Defence Ministry official against arms dealer and consultant Sanjay Bhandari, Police has now filed a case under Officials Secret Act, in connection with the recovery of confidential documents of the Ministry of Defense from the premises of Bhandari and his associate during an IT raid in April this year.
Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax department had been probing into the case of Bhandari in relation to evasion of taxes. During one such raid in April, IT department found papers of the Defence Ministry, including those related to a delayed proposal to buy mid-air refuellers.
The copies of documents recovered during the raid were allegedly related to defence purchases and proposals placed before the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), media reported. Copies of minutes of the Contract Negotiation Committee meeting for purchasing refuellers was also found, reports added quoting sources.
It has been reported that a special team has been formed to probe the matter, which will focus on how Bhandari received the documents related to the policy planning and force development branch of the Defence Ministry, the contents of which can be accessed only by senior officers of the ministry.
According to the reports, Police has filed FIR under sections 3 and 5 of the Official Secrets Act. The FIR also names Ashok Shankar, a close associate of Bhandari, as involved in receiving the documents. Both are being probed by the Enforcement Directorate and income tax department over evasion of taxes. According to the reports, Shankar’s premises had also been raided.
Following the recovery of the documents, IT department had informed Defence Ministry who in turn directed CBI probe, but later instructed Delhi Police to register FIR on Friday.
Earlier in June, the IT Department carried out searches on two Bengaluru-based business premises associated with defence consultant Sanjay Bhandari, who is under investigation for ascertaining the sources of about Rs.70 crore received by his companies between 2009 and 2014.