Robert Vadra gets anticipatory bail in money laundering case
On Saturday, Delhi's Patiala House court gave anticipatory bail to businessman Robert Vadra in a money laundering case, protecting him from arrest till February 16. Vadra, the husband of Priyanka Gandhi and brother-in-law of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, had submitted his application on Friday in the court. His counsel KTS Tulsi told the court that Vadra will join Enforcement Directorate investigation on February 6.
Backstory: Deals signed during UPA rule got Vadra into trouble
The money laundering case was filed by ED under the Black Money and Imposition of Tax Act. The case for which Vadra is an accused finds its roots in two contracts which were signed during UPA rule. Reportedly, a UK based firm named Syntak round tripped money it received as kickbacks for petroleum and defense deal which were signed in 2009 and 2005 respectively.
Money from kickbacks was used to purchase properties in UK
But how is this related to Vadra? Let us explain. Vadra's aides were allegedly close to Syntak. An ET report claims that 'ill-gotten wealth emanating from kickbacks' received by Syntak were used to purchase four properties in the UK. In 2009, Vadra's aide Sanjay Bhandari bought a UK mansion for £1.9 million from Syntak. ED claims the mansion is actually owned by Vadra.
Mansion was sold to another businessman and re-sold to Syntak
What makes this case murkier is the presence of Dubai based NRI businessman CC Thampi. He bought the mansion in 2010 through a company Skylite FZE. Allegedly, an enormous amount of money was transferred into Skylite's account after the petroleum deal was signed. But later the mansion was resold to Syntak, completing the round-tripping. Notably, before the mansion was sold to Thampi it was renovated, allegedly at a cost of £60,000.
ED claims mails prove Vadra's involvement, he denies it
ED claims it has emails which were exchanged between Bhandari and Vadra. The communication was related to the expensive renovation of the property. "Vadra was beneficially controlling property at 12, Bryanston Square, London, UK," ED said. However, Vadra has repeatedly denied the claims. In his bail plea, he told the court he was a law-abiding citizen who became a victim of a political witchhunt.
They don't have any evidence, claims Vadra's lawyer
"This thing has been going on since 2016. Till date, they do not have any evidence. All this is political vendetta... Robert Vadra will come here (on February 6) and he is ready for any investigation," Vadra's lawyer Tulsi told court.