Court extends protection from arrest for Robert Vadra

Robert Vadra. (PTI File Photo)

A Delhi court on Saturday extended the interim protection from arrest to Robert Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress president Rahul Gandhi till March 2 in a case of money laundering being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar, who has earlier provided him the relief till February 16, further extended it on an assurance by his counsel senior advocate K T S Tulsi, that he would cooperate and appear before the investigating agency.

The ED's counsel told the court that the accused was required further for appearance before the agency for interrogation in the case. “Vadra is not cooperating and giving evasive replies,” he said.

He also claimed Vadra always come with 'baraat' when asked by the agency to appear before it. He said by 'baraat', he meant horde of media people.

Vadra himself was present before the court. He has been asked to present himself before the ED on Tuesday.

The court, after recording the submission by his counsel that he was ready to appear before the agency, granted him interim protection. His co-accused Manoj Arora was also granted similar relief.

The court had earlier told Vadra to appear before the Enforcement Directorate on February 6 to join investigation as the agency alleged it had got the information that Vadra received kickbacks in 2009 in a petroleum deal.

The instant case related to alleged acquisition of overseas properties by Vadra through the money arranged by his associates.

According to the ED's counsel, there was a question of 1.9 million pounds of property, besides other cases of 4 and 5 million of money laundering. Vadra had acquired six flats overseas in his possession, he claimed.

The agency said it has got the information about various new properties in London which belonged to Vadra including two houses of five and four million each, six other flats and more properties.

Vadra sought pre-arrest bail claiming that he was being targeted and was being subjected to false prosecution which has a "colour of political witch hunt".

He also contended that he is a law abiding citizen and the case was "nothing but a political vendetta".

Vadra also submitted that he was socially active and had strong roots in society. Being a family man, there was no chance for him to abscond.

Arora, is alleged to be an employee of Vadra's firm Skylight Hospitality LLP. He was being investigated on charges of money laundering for the purchase of London properties worth 1.9 million pounds allegedly owned by Vadra.

The money laundering case came to be lodged after Income Tax department was probing allegations of black money against absconding arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari.

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