Robert Vadra, Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s brother-in-law, and his mother Maureen appeared before the Enforcement Directorate at its zonal office in connection with a probe into an alleged land scam in the Rajasthan’s border town of Bikaner.
AICC general secretary and his wife Priyanka Gandhi accompanied them to the office. This is Vadra’s fourth appearance before the agency and first in Jaipur.
On the last three occasions, he appeared before ED in Delhi in connection with a money laundering probe against him for his alleged role in procuring assets abroad.
The Rajasthan High Court had asked Vadra and his mother to cooperate with the agency after they approached it seeking directions that no coercive action is taken against them by the agency, following which the duo appeared before the ED in Jaipur.
Vadra and his mother’s statements shall be recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
In the Bikaner case, the agency had summoned Vadra thrice but he failed to appear and later approached the court.
The ED had registered a criminal case in connection with the deal in 2015, taking cognisance of a clutch of FIRs and chargesheets filed by Rajasthan police after the tehsildar of Bikaner complained about alleged forgery in the allotment of land in the area, considered sensitive due to its proximity to the India-Pakistan border.
It is understood that the agency wants to question Vadra about the operations of a firm — Ms Skylight Hospitality Private Limited — allegedly linked to him, which had purchased land in the area. It also wants to confront Vadra with the statements of those said to be linked to him.
Earlier on Tuesday, Vadra lashed out at what he termed as a “vindictive government” which was harassing a senior citizen (Robert Vadra’s mother).
Vadra’s 75-year old mother was also summoned along with him by the probe agency in the case.
“… So here we are my 75-year-old mother and me in Jaipur to depose in front of the Enforcement Directorate. Not understanding the lows of this vindictive government to be harassing a senior citizen, who the world knows has lost her daughter in a car crash, her ailing son to diabetes, and her husband as well. Three deaths and all I did was to ask her to spend time with me in my office, so I can look after her and we both could grieve on our losses while spending time together,” he said in a statement.
— Robert Vadra (@irobertvadra) February 12, 2019
He further that “being a disciplined person, he has the ability to sustain any amount of hours of questioning” and that “he has nothing to hide”.
On an ending note, he said, “What goes around comes around” adding that “God was with them”.
(With agency inputs)