Businessman Robert Vadra and his mother Maureen Vadra will appear before the Enforcement Directorate in Jaipur tomorrow for questioning in a money laundering case. Mr Vadra, the husband of Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, was grilled for over 24 hours altogether for three days last week in another alleged money laundering case on purchase of a property in the UK worth 1.9 million pounds (approximately Rs 17 crore).
Investigators have accused Mr Vadra of letting the personal driver of an associate, Mahesh Nagar, pay for buying land in Rajasthan’s Bikaner with a cheque drawn on behalf of his mother Maureen, and have questioned the manner in which the transaction was done.
The mother-son duo, who landed in Jaipur today, is expected to visit the probe agency’s office on Bhawani Singh Road tomorrow at 10 am.
Last month, the businessman and his mother were told by the Rajasthan High Court to appear before the Enforcement Directorate for recording their statements, after they asked the court to ensure the probe agency refrain from taking any coercive action against them. Mr Vadra went to the court after he got at least three summons from the probe agency, according to news agency PTI.
The Enforcement Directorate filed a money laundering case in 2015 after it took note of several First Information Reports (FIRs) filed by the Rajasthan Police, which received complaints from the Bikaner tehsildar on alleged forgery in land allotment in the area, considered sensitive due to its proximity to the border with Pakistan.
In his complaint, the tehsildar said government land in 34 villages of Bikaner to be used for expanding the Army’s firing range was “grabbed” by the land mafia with the help of “forged and fabricated documents”, with the help of some government officials. The ED suspects a huge amount of money was laundered as people bought land at cheap rates through forged documents.
The probe agency wants to question Mr Vadra about the operations of a firm, Skylight Hospitality Pvt Ltd, allegedly linked to him, which had bought land in Bikaner. The ED is likely to confront Mr Vadra with the statements of people who were aware of the transactions, PTI reported.
The role of a big steel company that gave loans to another firm, which eventually bought the land from companies linked to Mr Vadra at an inflated price, will be investigated, officials in the probe team said.
Mr Vadra has denied any wrongdoing in the Bikaner case, and accused the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of going down the path of vendetta politics, more so at a time when his wife Priyanka Gandhi has been made the Congress’s Lok Sabha election campaign in-charge in eastern Uttar Pradesh where the constituencies of PM Modi and the saffron-robed Uttar Pradesh Chief Minster Yogi Adityanath are located.