The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday questioned Robert Vadra for more than eight hours for the second consecutive day in connection with a money laundering case.
Sources said that Mr Vadra was required to rejoin the probe as he needed to answer more questions on allegedly acquiring immovable assets in the United Kingdom.
Mr Vadra, they said, was confronted with documents that the agency has collected, including some allegedly linked to absconding defence dealer Sanjay Bhandari.
Mr Vadra is expected to be questioned again on either Friday or Saturday. Mr Vadra also shared documents with the investigating officer of the case and assured that more will be provided as and when he gets them, sources said.
While Mr Vadra’s interrogation was on, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s national spokesperson Sambit Patra addressed the press about nine emails allegedly exchanged between Mr Vadra and Sumit Chadha, a relative of Mr Bhandari, between March 8, 2010 and April 17, 2010 regarding properties in London.
Alleging that the Gandhi family owns five properties in London, Mr Patra said, “The address of five properties have come before us through media… One is on Wellington Road at St John’s Wood in London. This property’s cost is around Rs 37 crore. Second property has flat numbers 18, 20, 22, 24, 26 and 28 on Saratoga Road in London. It looks like there is a property of the Gandhi family on each road of London.”
“Gandhi family will also have to bow down in front of law. The law won’t bow to them… The accused have to come before the law and we are seeing that they are coming every day before ED now,” he said.
Mr Vadra arrived at the ED office in Jamnagar House, central Delhi, in an SUV at about 11.25 am, about an hour after his team of lawyers reached there. After two hours of questioning, he left for lunch and returned about an hour later. His questioning continued till 8.45 pm, sources said, adding that he may be called for questioning again on Saturday.
After his questioning ended, his wife and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra picked him up.
The ED case against Vadra relates to allegations of money laundering in the purchase of a London-based property located at 12, Bryanston Square and worth £1.9 million, which is allegedly owned by him. The agency told a Delhi court that it has received information about various other properties in London which belong to Mr Vadra. These include two houses, one worth £5 million and the other valued at £4 million, and six flats, among others. Mr Vadra has denied the allegations of possessing illegal foreign assets and has termed the probe a political witch-hunt. He said he was being “hounded and harassed” to serve political ends.
Mr Vadra’s lawyer, K.T.S. Tulsi, told reporters outside the ED office Thursday his client has not committed any wrongdoing.
A team of three ED officials, including the investigating officer of the case, has put across about two dozen questions to Mr Vadra over two days. His statement is being recorded under Section 50 (powers of authorities regarding summons, production of documents and to give evidence) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, as was done on Wednesday, sources said.
Mr Vadra’s appearance before the ED acquired political overtones after his wife, Priyanka Gandhi, appointed Congress general secretary in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, accompanied him to the investigating agency’s office on Wednesday. She took charge of her new post at the Congress national headquarters on Akbar Road shortly after that.
“He is my husband, he is my family. I support my family,” Ms Gandhi said in a show of support.
As Mr Vadra’s questioning continued for the second day, Mr Patra quoted another email he said was sent by Mr Vadra on April 15, 2010, in which he allegedly wrote, “Hi, was not aware that nothing has reached you. Will look into it at the morning and let Manoj sort it out. Will be in London soon too. You take care.”
Mr Patra claimed, “Vadra is explaining that he didn’t know that the money has not reached Chadha, so he would ask Manoj to immediately sort this out… Who is this Manoj?”
Mr Patra claimed that Mr Vadra has accepted that Manoj is his employee who used to write emails for him, which establishes a trail between “Mr B, Deltabhandari, Manoj and Robert Vadra”.
Mr Patra alleged that some mails were marked to an email ID [email protected], and said Congress president Rahul Gandhi needs to answer who “Mr M, Mr B and Deltabhandari” were.