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Bikaner land scam: Arrested duo sent to ED custody till Dec 30

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    A Jaipur Court on Friday sent Jaiprakash Bagarwa and Ashok Kumar, who were arrested earlier today in connection with the Bikaner land scam case, to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody till December 30.

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    They were arrested under the PMLA law. The ED probe is related to the purchase of 275 bigha land allegedly by the company in the Kolayat area of the border town of Bikaner in Rajasthan, few years back.

    Ashok Kumar is said to be a close associate of Mahesh Nagar of Ms Skylight Hospitality Private Limited. Skylight hospitality is a firm that has been alleged to be linked to Robert Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress President Rahul Gandhi. The agency had searched the premises of Kumar and Nagar in April this year.

    The ED had also attached assets worth Rs 1.18 crore of government officials and others in connection with the case under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

    The ED had registered a criminal case under the PMLA in this matter in 2015, taking cognisance of FIRs filed by the state police after the local Tehsildar had complained of alleged forgery.

    The agency, in this case, had also issued notices to the said firm linked to Vadra and has obtained certain documents from it.

    However, the ED has not mentioned the name of Vadra or any company linked to him in its FIR filed. In the FIR, it had named some Rajasthan government officials and the "land mafia". Vadra had denied any wrongdoing even as the Congress called the action "sheer political vendetta".

    The Rajasthan government had in January, 2015 cancelled the mutation (transfer of land) of 374.44 hectares of land, after the land department claimed to have found that the allotments were made in the names of illegal private persons.

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