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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

Need to question Robert Vadra 4-5 times more, ED tells Delhi court

The Enforcement Directorate seeks more appearances of Robert Vadra in an alleged money laundering case.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2019 14:44 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Businessman Robert Vadra arrives at Enforcement Directorate office in New Delhi, India, on Thursday, February 7, 2019. He was questioned for over 2 hours at the Enforcement Directorate’s office in a second round of questioning in connection with a money laundering case. (Photo by Amal KS/ Hindustan Times)
Businessman Robert Vadra arrives at Enforcement Directorate office in New Delhi, India, on Thursday, February 7, 2019. He was questioned for over 2 hours at the Enforcement Directorate’s office in a second round of questioning in connection with a money laundering case. (Photo by Amal KS/ Hindustan Times)(Amal KS/HT PHOTO)
         

The Enforcement Directorate on Saturday sought to question businessman Robert Vadra four-five times more in connection with an alleged money laundering case. The court extended the interim bail granted to Vadra till March 2, when the Patiala House Court will hear his anticipatory bail plea.

Appearing for the ED, special public prosecutor DP Singh informed the court that they need four-five more appearances of Vadra in the alleged money laundering case.

Senior lawyer KTS Tulsi, who appeared for Vadra, told the court that they are ready to extend their support and cooperation to the ED in the case.

Earlier in the day, Vadra called the ED action “a complete vindictive & vicious witch hunt” in a Facebook post. “I have had nothing to hide and I am surely not above the law. I have deposed for almost 6 days; ranging from 8 to 12 hours per day with a 40 minute lunch break, and have been escorted to the washroom,” he said.

Vadra, who is the brother-in-law of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, appeared before the Enforcement Directorate in two separate cases first in agency’s Delhi office and then in Jaipur. The ED is probing allegations of money laundering in connection with a case of purchase of illegal property in London and a land scam in Rajasthan’s Bikaner.

His appearance before the ED acquired political overtones with his wife and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra accompanying him to the investigating agency’s offices in Delhi and Jaipur. After dropping Vadra off at ED’s Delhi office, Priyanka Gandhi had said she wanted to send a “message” by accompanying her husband.

Earlier this month, Vadra had been granted interim bail till February 16. He appeared before the court at the expiry of the period of interim bail. In the previous hearing, the court had directed Vadra to cooperate with the ED in connection with the cases of alleged dubious financial dealings.

The London assets case relates to allegations of money laundering in the purchase of a property worth 1.9 million British pounds. In the Bikaner land scam case, the Rajasthan High Court directed Vadra to cooperate with the agency.

According to ED, Vadra’s connection appeared during probe into a case by the Income Tax Department. That case relates to probe against absconding arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari under the 2015 anti-black money law.

During the probe, the role of Manoj Arora cropped up. Arora is believed to be a close aide of Vadra and an employee of Skylight Hospitality LLP, a firm linked to him. The ED lodged a case against Arora under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The ED conducted raids in the case and grilled Arora in December 2018.

The ED alleged that the London-based property was bought by Bhandari for 1.9 million British pounds and sold for the same amount despite incurring additional expenses of approximately 65,900 British pounds on its renovation. The agency says the London-based property, including two houses and six flats, belong to Vadra.

The BJP has used the allegations against Vadra to attack the Congress party alleging he got kickbacks in petroleum and defence deals during the UPA regime. Vadra has denied all allegations saying he was being “hounded and harassed” to serve political ends.

(With inputs from agencies)

First Published: Feb 16, 2019 14:35 IST

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