Robert Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, on Thursday morning again reached the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office here. On Wednesday too, he appeared before the agency which questioned him for around six hours in a money laundering case.
Vadra arrived at the ED's Jamnagar House at 3.45 p.m. and left at 9.35 p.m. He was accompanied by his wife and Congress general secretary for Uttar Pradesh East, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. She, however, left the ED office after dropping Vadra, who was questioned by the investigating agency for the first time. A team of seven ED officials of the rank of Deputy Director and Assistant Directors took part in his questioning.
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Money laundering case: What happened throughout the day
16:42 pm: Robert Vadra's lawyer KTS Tulsi slams ED. "First principle of any investigation is that it's confidential. But ED here is leaking information as they know they've nothing to be investigated.They are calling people only to bring bad name to them," Tulsi says.
Money laundering case: Robert Vadra's lawyer KTS Tulsi outside ED office says, "First principle of any investigation is that it's confidential.But ED here is leaking information as they know they've nothing to be investigated.They are calling people only to bring bad name to them pic.twitter.com/o32WygoI2e— ANI (@ANI) February 7, 2019
14:45 pm: Robert Vadra arrives at the Enforcement Directorate office after a break, for questioning in connection with a money laundering case
13:27 pm: Questioning ends from Robert Vadra for now, likely to resume after lunch
12:34 pm: A team of 7 officers is questioning Robert Vadra: Sources
11:40 am: In Bikaner land case, ED office in Jaipur sends notice to Robert Vadra
11:24 am: Robert Vadra reaches ED office
10:43 am: In case Robert Vadra refuses to cooperate, he must be arrested: Subramanian Swamy
10:42 am: Vadra is given SPG protection because of his wife Priyanka Gandhi Vadra: Subramanian Swamy
10:40 am: Robert Vadra to reach ED office shortly
According to an ED official, Vadra was asked questions relating to transactions, purchase and possession of certain immovable assets in London.
The ED's case relates to the ownership of 1.9 million pounds of undisclosed assets abroad, allegedly belonging to Vadra.
Soon after Vadra's questioning, his lawyer Suman Jyoti Khaitan told reporters "they wanted to harass him as part of political vendetta".
"He (Vadra) felt that something wrong is going to happen. He on his own went to the court and said he is going to appear voluntarily before the ED. He asked the court to give him the date to appear before the ED. The court gave today's date. He appeared before the ED on his own even without receiving summons.
"He answered every question he was asked. The matter is sub-judice, I cannot tell more. We have given the undertaking," Khaitan said.
Agency sources said that Vadra has been asked to join the investigation again at 10.30 a.m. on Thursday.
The ED has lodged a money laundering case 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 absconding arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari.
The London property was allegedly bought by Bhandari and sold in 2010 for the same amount despite incurring additional expenses on its renovation.
On December 7, as part of the investigation, the ED conducted searches at a number of premises in Delhi-NCR and Bengaluru.
The ED counsel has 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.
There were a few more properties that needed to be probed, the counsel said.
The official said that Arora, 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.
He also said that the agency also confronted Vadra with the statement given by Arora.
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.
The court had on Saturday also granted interim bail to Vadra till February 16.
Earlier in the day, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who accompanied her husband to the ED office made a strong political statement.
"I stand by my family," she later told reporters at the AICC headquarters where Congress workers shouted slogans hailing her. "Priyanka you fight on, we are with you!"
Interestingly, the development has come after Priyanka was appointed as general secretary and in-charge of Uttar Pradesh east on January 23 by her brother and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.
Her office is adjacent to the room of her brother at the party headquarters at Akbar Road here.
She attended her first official meeting on Thursday.
(With inputs from agencies)