Wife Priyanka drops Robert Vadra at ED office for questioning
Sending a strong message that she stands by her spouse, Priyanka Gandhi dropped Robert Vadra outside Enforcement Directorate office on Wednesday. The businessman reached ED office for questioning in connection to a money-laundering case. Notably, Priyanka, who was recently made the secretary of Congress for UP (East), didn't step out of the white Toyota Land Cruiser. She left with her convoy of vehicles soon.
Vadra moved Patiala House Court on Friday, seeking protection from arrest and his plea was heard. On Saturday, he was given anticipatory bail till February 16. His counsel, KTS Tulsi had told the court Vadra would join the investigation on February 6. While applying for relief, Vadra had said he was a law-abiding citizen who was facing false persecution. He claimed he was a victim of a 'political witchhunt'.
The case for which Vadra faces action dates back to UPA rule. A defense deal (signed in 2005) and another petroleum contract (signed in 2009) put Vadra under scrutiny. It is alleged that UK based company, Syntak round tripped money it received as kickbacks from the deals. Vadra's aide Sanjay Bhandari allegedly purchased a house in London for £1.9 million from Syntak.
However, ED alleges that the house located at 12, Bryanston Square, actually belonged to Vadra. It is alleged Dubai based NRI businessman CC Thampi purchased the house from Bhandari in 2010. The house was then re-sold to Syntak, completing the round-tripping. ED also claims the house was renovated before Thampi purchased it. The cost of renovation was about £60,000 and Vadra apparently facilitated it.
While Vadra cried conspiracy, ED said it had enough proof against him. ED carried out raids in December '18 and recovered important evidence. The agency said it has emails to prove Vadra's role in the property's renovation. On the allegations that probe was driven politically, ED asked, "Should no authority investigate any political bigwig because that will be called a political vendetta?"
During the bail hearing, ED told the court it has learned about several new properties in London which belonged to Vadra. The properties include two houses and six flats. The agency said they just want Vadra to inform about his properties.
The allegations on Vadra have given BJP a chance to attack Congress, quite obviously. On Wednesday, spokesperson Sambit Patra said Congress put posters of two 'criminals' outside its office. "Both of them are out on bail. Criminal no. 1 Rahul Gandhi in connection with National Herald case & criminal no. 2 Robert Vadra who has to appear before ED today in connection with money laundering case," Patra said.