Congress leader Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra on Wednesday appeared before the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a money laundering case relating to alleged possession of illegal foreign assets. His wife Priyank gandhi Vadra, who recently entered the active politics ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls, accompanied her husband for the interrorgation but left soon afterwards.
Vadra was directed by a Delhi court to cooperate with the investigation being carried out by the central probe agency after he knocked on its door seeking anticipatory bail in this case.
The sources told news agency PTI earlier that Vadra will be grilled about the transactions, purchase and possession of certain immovable assets in London and his statement will be recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
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#Robert Vadra's statement is being recorded by a team led by Joint Director accompanied by Deputy Director and 5 other officers.
#I stand by my husband, says Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on ED questioning Robert Vadra and she dropping him to the agency's office.
Delhi: Robert Vadra inside the Enforcement Directorate office, to appear in connection with a money laundering case pic.twitter.com/HIiwLYpMou— ANI (@ANI) February 6, 2019
#Priyanka Gandhi, Robert Vadra's wife and Congress head for eastern UP, accompanied him to ED offices but left soon afterwards.
Delhi: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra accompanied Robert Vadra to the Enforcement Directorate, where he reached to appear in connection with a money laundering case pic.twitter.com/J08d6305Uy— ANI (@ANI) February 6, 2019
A Delhi court last week granted interim bail to him till February 16 and asked him to join probe by appearing in person on February 6 in this case.
The case relates to allegations of money laundering in the purchase of a London-based property — located at 12, Bryanston Square — worth 1.9 million pounds, which is allegedly owned by Vadra, brother-in-law of Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
The agency had told the court that it has received information about various new properties in London which belongs to Vadra including two houses of five and four million each, six other flats and more properties.
"We just want him to come and inform about his properties," the ED counsel had said in the court.
In his anticipatory bail plea, Vadra had said he was being subjected to "unwarranted, unjustified and malicious criminal prosecution which on the face of it is completely politically motivated and is being carried out for reasons other than those prescribed under law".
The ED had carried out raids in this case in December last year at premises of a firm linked to Vadra in Delhi. It also grilled his associate Manoj Arora in connection with the case.
Vadra had alleged he was being "hounded and harassed" to subserve political ends.
Arora had also alleged before the court that the case was foisted on him by the NDA government out of "political vendetta".
However, the ED had refuted the allegations, asking that "should no authority investigate any political bigwig because that will be called a political vendetta?"
The agency had told the court that it filed the money laundering case against Arora after his role came up during the probe of another case by the Income Tax Department under the 2015 anti-blackmoney legislation against absconding arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari.
It had alleged that the London-based property was bought by Bhandari for GBP 1.9 million and sold in 2010 for the same amount despite incurring additional expenses of approximately GBP 65,900 on its renovation.
"This gives credence to the fact that Bhandari was not the actual owner of the property but it was beneficially owned by Vadra who was incurring expenditure on the renovation of this property," the ED had told the court.
Arora, an employee of Vadra's Skylight Hospitality LLP, was a key person in the case and he was aware of the latter's overseas undeclared assets and was instrumental in arranging funds, ED had alleged.