Businessman Robert Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, is being questioned in a money laundering case for the second day. In a five-hour session, the Enforcement Directorate, the agency investigating the case, questioned Vadra on allegations that he illegally owns nine properties, cumulatively worth 12 million pounds (Rs. 110 crore), in London. The agency is now questioning him on his links with the main players in the case - controversial arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari, his nephew, and two others. Vadra has denied the allegations, calling it a political witch-hunt. Coming months ahead of the national elections, his questioning has become another flashpoint between the government and the opposition.
Robert Vadra, brother-in-law of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who appeared for the second round of questioning before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday, was confronted with his mails that were exchanged with Sumit Chadha, a relative of absconding arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari, sources said.
Vadra, who was questioned for over two hours before he stepped out for lunch, was asked about the mails he exchanged with Chadha in reference to a London property, the ED sources said.
The case relates to the ownership of 1.9 million pounds of undisclosed assets abroad, allegedly belonging to Vadra.
A money laundering case was registered against Vadra’s close aide Manoj Arora after his role surfaced during a probe by the Income Tax Department into another case under the new Black Money Act and tax laws against Bhandari.
The London property was allegedly bought by Bhandari and sold in 2010 for the same amount despite incurring additional expenses on its renovation.
Vadra left the ED’s Jamnagar office around 1.30 p.m. He had joined the session almost an hour late at 11.20 a.m., although he was asked to appear at 10.30 a.m.
On Wednesday, Vadra was questioned for the first time by any of the investigating agencies for over six hours.
Unlike the first day, the businessman was not accompanied by his wife Priyanka Gandhi, who had dropped him off at the office on Wednesday.
On December 7, 2018, as part of the investigation, the ED conducted searches at a number of premises in Delhi-NCR and Bengaluru.
The ED told a city court earlier that the London property was part of the kickbacks received in a petroleum deal. The money was transferred by Santech International, FZC, a UAE-based company controlled by Bhandari.
Arora, who is an employee of Vadra’s Skylight Hospitality LLP, is a key suspect in the case as he is aware of the overseas investments and purchases made by his employer.
The questioning came in the wake of an order by a Delhi court on February 2 directing Vadra to appear before the ED for questioning while hearing the anticipatory bail plea filed by him.
Vadra was on February 2 granted interim bail for a fortnight. (IANS)