Why is the ED catching up to Robert Vadra
New Delhi, Dec 7: Two days after he was summoned, the Enforcement Directorate has conducted raids at three offices belonging to Robert Vadra. The raids are being conducted in connection with a money-laundering probe.
The raids come just days after a third summons was issued to Vadra asking him to appear before the ED. The case in hand relates to the Bikaner land deal money laundering case.
Vadra, whose Sky Light Hospitality Pvt Ltd is being probed for fraudently acquiring land in Bikaner meant for rehabilitation of poor villagers has avoided two summonses. The last summons was issued for his personal appearance, but he chose to send his representatives instead.
An ED source informed OneIndia that Vadra has been wilfully avoiding the summonses. His personal appearance is needed in the case in order for us to record his statement.
This was necessary after we gathered evidence against Sky Light Hospitality for the past three years. He has been deliberately avoiding joining the probe, despite us having the power to seek his custodial interrogation under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
It may be recalled that in December 2017, the ED had arrested two persons in connection with the case-Jaiprakash Bagarwa and Ashok Kumar, The ED says that Kumar is a close aid of Mahesh Nagar, who is the authorised representative of Sky Light Hospitality. Vadra and his mother Maureen are directors in the company which has been accused of money laundering.
In 2014, the Rajasthan Police had filed cases against Sky Light Hospitality. The following year the ED registered a case against the company and others under the provisions of the PMLA. This was done on the basis of the FIRs and also 20 chargesheets filed by the Rajasthan Police.
ED officials say that Kumar was used as a conduit by Nagar, who was aware of the fraudulent nature of 69.55 hectares Sky Light Hospitality had purchased for Rs 72 lakh.
This was later sold to Allegeney Finlease Pvt Lts for Rs 5.15 crore. The ED learnt that Allegeney was not involved in any real estate activity and the shareholders are either dummy or non/existent.
Further the financial trails of Allegeney showed that it had received funds from a leading steel and power company, which it used to purchase the land in question at Bikaner. While the ED has managed to question almost all associated with the case, it has been unable to record Vadra's statement as yet. Hence it is important for us to seek his custodial interrogation, ED officials also said.
On Friday, raids were also conducted at Bengaluru. Vadra's lawyer while addressing the media said that the employees were locked in one of the offices. They have locked our people of Sky Light Hospitality inside. They are not allowing anyone to go inside. Is this a jail, he also asked. For the past four and half years, they have found nothing. Now they are locking us outside and planting and fabricating evidence, he also added.