The Enforcement Directorate Thursday sought dismissal of Robert Vadra’s anticipatory bail application in a money laundering case and told a Delhi court that he is required for custodial interrogation.
Special Judge Arvind Kumar, who extended his interim protection from arrest till April 1, said he will pronounce order on Vadra’s application on Monday.
ED said Vadra, brother-in-law of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, “needed to be dealt with custodial interrogation and that there was a risk of tampering with the investigation”.
Vadra, facing allegations of money laundering in purchase of a London-based property at 12, Bryanston Square worth 1.9 million pounds, was earlier granted interim protection from arrest by the court till March 27.
ED told the court that there was fresh evidence in the case, including the e-mail trail in which the purchase and renovation of the London-based property was discussed.
“The anticipatory bail needs to be dismissed. Robert Vadra needs to be dealt with custodial interrogation,” ED’s special public prosecutor D P Singh and Nitesh Rana told the court.
Rana also accused Vadra of politicising the matter.
“We (ED) did not summon him because we did not want to make it political. He (Vadra) himself came forward that he wanted to join the probe. He came to our office with a lot of people, with his wife escorting him. “We faced almost a mob like situation. Now he says ED is politicising the matter. He goes to the press, goes to social media. His activities, business, investments, all are suspicious,” the agency said.
Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for Vadra, told the court there was no need of custodial interrogation.
“There is no allegation to tempering, fleeing or that he (Vadra) is not cooperating. There is no ground of noncooperation rather it’s a case of over cooperation,” he said.
He further said, “ED is saying I (Vadra) was close to power and misused my position. If that was the case, then I was certainly more influential from 2009 to 2014 than I am now, as ED keep on saying this that I am influential. What more damage I can do now.”
In his anticipatory bail plea, Vadra has alleged that 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 also alleged that Manoj 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.
The court will also pronounce order on Arora’s anticipatory bail application on April 1.
According to ED, it lodged the money laundering case against Arora after his role came up during the probe of another case by the Income Tax Department under the newly enacted Black Money Act and tax law against absconding arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari.
It 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.
ED said it has received information about various new properties in London which allegedly belong to Vadra, including two houses of five and four million pounds each and six other flats. PTI