Tax officials record Robert Vadra's statement in benami properties case
Officials of the Income Tax department on Monday recorded businessman Robert Vadra's statement at his Delhi office in connection with the benami properties case. Vadra is the son-in-law of Indian National Congress chief Sonia Gandhi through his marriage to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. The case pertains to the alleged purchase of properties by Vadra in the United Kingdom through arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari.
A team of I-T officials reached Vadra's office in Sukhdev Vihar to record his statement under the provisions of the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, sources told PTI. He had earlier been summoned by the agency, however, he failed to appear citing the coronavirus pandemic. According to India Today, Vadra was questioned about the Bikaner land deal scam and Faridabad land scam cases.
The I-T department has been probing Vadra over the alleged possession of some undisclosed assets in the UK. Reportedly, the properties, purchased between 2005 and 2010, are believed to be valued at £12 million. He allegedly channeled kickbacks received from a 2009 petroleum deal into the properties. The Enforcement Directorate is also investigating these charges under the anti-money laundering law.
Vadra's firm, Sky Light Hospitality, faces money laundering charges for allegedly acquiring land meant for the rehabilitation of poor villagers in Bikaner. A police case was also filed in September 2018 against Vadra and former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. It was alleged that Sky Light Hospitality sold 3.5 acres of land in 2008 in Shikohpur village to DLF at a higher rate.
Vadra allegedly owns a property worth £1.9 million (over Rs. 17.77 crore) in Bryston Square, London. He allegedly owns two more properties worth £4 million (around Rs. 37.42 crore) and £5 million (over Rs. 46.77 crore). It is also suspected that he owns six other flats, NDTV reported citing sources in the Enforcement Directorate.