Delhi Police suspects he ‘leaked’ information related to weapon procurements to absconding arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari, writes to defence ministry seeking information.
New Delhi: A serving brigadier looking after procurements in the Army is under Delhi Police’s scanner for his alleged links with arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari. Investigators suspect the senior Army officer “leaked” secret documents related to procurement, which were recovered during raids on the house and offices of the absconding arms dealer.
According to police sources, the officer — believed to be still posted at Army headquarters — was allegedly in touch with Bhandari and received gratification in the form of foreign trips and other emoluments. Police zeroed in on the brigadier during their probe into the leakage of documents that violate the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
The officer was one of the six persons to whom the copy of a recovered secret document pertaining to procurement of weapons, their specifications and bids was marked.
“These are secret defence documents that were found at Bhandari’s residence during an I-T raid, following which he was charged with violation of the Official Secrets Act. When we probed the link between Bhandari and the six people to whom the documents were marked, we found sufficient evidence against the officer,” a police source told ThePrint.
The investigators claim to have gathered evidence of direct links between Bhandari — who managed to give authorities the slip and is now suspected to be in London — and the Army officer. “They not only had exchanged several calls and texts but Bhandari had facilitated several trips for him,” the source alleged.
The Delhi Police has got in touch with the defence ministry in this connection. “We have written to MoD seeking some information,” a source said. An Army spokesperson said he had no information on the subject.
Police sources said that the officer concerned first came under the scanner after circumstantial evidence hinted at his link with Bhandari. His call records, accessed by the police, allegedly reveal that he was in constant touch with Bhandari and the two exchanged over 300 calls.
The Army officer was allegedly in touch with some of Bhandari’s associates, including an agent who booked flight tickets for him. The Crime Branch has been working on establishing a link between Bhandari and Army officers who allegedly helped him gain access and documents.
“Bhandari had taken assistance from former Army personnel, who he had hired to work for him, to get access to various departments. However, until now we did not have a direct link to establish if someone was helping him with arms procurement deals from inside the Army,” an investigator alleged.
“It is certain that Bhandari had prior information about the tenders that were to be floated for procurement of arms. However, it is yet to be established if he made a deal for which he received kickbacks,” he added.
After a case was registered against him for violation the Official Secrets Act, Bhandari is believed to have fled to London via Nepal. The government is now making attempts to get him extradited to India. “First, a red corner notice will be issued against him, following which he will be declared a proclaimed offender. It is only after that we can move a request to extradite him,” a police officer said.
Three months ago, the Enforcement Directorate had attached properties worth over Rs 20 crore, including, four luxury cars, belonging to Bhandari.