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Defence secrets leak row: Varun Gandhi says will quit politics if claims are true

A US-based lawyer has raised a big political storm by alleging that his former business partner and controversial arms dealer Abhishek Verma "honey-trapped" BJP MP Varun Gandhi and some senior military officers with foreign sex workers to extract sensitive information about defence deals.

The lawyer-turned-whistleblower C Edmonds Allen has made the allegations in two letters sent to PM Modi's office on August 25 and September 16. Allen has over the years supplied hundreds of documents to CBI and other agencies against Verma, an accused in the infamous Navy war-room leak of 2005 and other cases.

Purportedly backed with "CDs and photos of the MP with foreign prostitutes in compromising positions", the September 16 letter alleges that Verma and his associates "compromised" and blackmailed Varun Gandhi, who was then a member of the parliamentary consultative committee on defence, and possibly other MPs and their staff as well as some officers.

Swaraj Abhiyan leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav made public the documents sent by Allen in a press conference in New Delhi on Thursday, except for "the sleazy photographic evidence", saying their intention was to show how both the Congress and the BJP "participate in, collude with and protect each other in compromising vital national security interests".

On his part, Varun Gandhi has strongly rejected all charges as "totally ridiculous", adding that he would quit politics "even if 1% of all this" was true. "The entire information presented does not contain an iota of proof that either I had access or shared any communication regarding sensitive information to Verma," he said.