Robert Vadra gets interim protection till Feb 16

Robert Vadra gets interim protection till Feb 16

Robert Vadra

Robert Vadra, brother-in-law of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, on Saturday got interim protection from arrest from a Delhi court till February 16 in a case of money laundering being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar, however, told him to appear before the Enforcement Directorate on February 6 to join the investigation as the agency alleged it had got the information that Vadra received kickbacks in 2009 in a petroleum deal.

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

The judge provided him relief on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh with a surety of like amount.

The court directed Vadra to present himself before the ED on February 6, at 4 pm.

Senior advocate K T S Tulsi, appearing for him, submitted that Vadra was in London taking care of his ailing mother and would join the ED probe as directed.

ED's counsel Special Public Prosecutor D P Singh contended that 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.

The judge, however, said, “I am granting him interim protection. Let him come and join investigation.”

Manoj Arora, an associate of Vadra had earlier been questioned by the Enforcement Directorate. He is alleged to be an employee of Vadra's firm Skylight Hospitality LLP. He was being investigated on charges of money laundering for 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.

In his plea, Vadra sought relief as interim protection from arrest has been granted to Arora by the court on January 11.

He urged the court to issue directions to the Enforcement Directorate to release him immediately in case of arrest in the case registered in 2017.

Among the grounds cited by Vadra for pre-arrest bail are 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 was 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.