New Delhi. Delhi court Saturday extended the interim bail granted to Robert Vadra till March 2 in a money laundering case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) even as the agency claimed that he was not cooperating in the matter.
Special judge Arvind Kumar granted the relief to Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
The court also extended the protection from arrest granted to his close aide and a co-accused in the case, Manoj Arora, till the next date of hearing i.e. March 2.
The ED told the court that it needed to question Vadra in the case and opposed his anticipatory bail plea, saying that he was not cooperating in the case.
“Vadra is not cooperating and giving evasive replies,” Special Public Prosecutor D P Singh and advocate Nitesh Rana, appearing for the ED, said.
The businessman, represented through senior advocate KTS Tulsi, however, denied the charge and said he was ready to come for questioning as and when called.
Singh told the court Vadra is accompanied by a ‘baraat’ (procession) wherever he goes, whether to the agency’s office or to the court.
“There are some people who always come with a ‘baraat’, Vadra is one of them,” Singh, said, adding that by ‘baraat’, he was referring to the media.
The lawyer alleged that Vadra was using social media, including Facebook, for writing about the case and highlighting the matter.
Vadra had filed an anticipatory bail application in the case linked to allegations of money laundering in the purchase of a London-based property at 12, Bryanston Square worth GBP 1.9 million. The property is allegedly owned by him.
The agency had earlier said it has received information about various new properties in London which belongs to Vadra, including two houses of five and four million pounds, each, six other flats and more properties.
In his anticipatory bail plea, Vadra had said he was being subjected to “unwarranted, unjustified and malicious criminal prosecution which on the face of it is completely politically motivated and is being carried out for reasons other than those prescribed under law”.
The plea had said Vadra’s office was raided by ED on December 7, 2018 and therefore, he seriously apprehends that his liberty may be curtailed by the investigating agency.
“The petitioner (Vadra) is being subjected to a farce criminal prosecution which actually is beset with nothing else except political vendetta and most unfortunately the respondent (ED) being the law enforcement agency is a party to the unethical and illegal exercise.
“It is stated that the petitioner’s (Vadra’s) firm through its authorised representative Manoj Arora has already joined investigation with the ED conducting investigation into the affairs of the firm in Rajasthan with their offices at Jaipur on many occasions and has supplied all the relevant documents to the satisfaction of the officials of the ED,” the plea had said.
Arora, an employee of Vadra’s Skylight Hospitality LLP, was a key person in the case and he was aware of the latter’s overseas undeclared assets and was instrumental in arranging funds, the ED had alleged. Vadra had alleged that he is being “hounded and harassed” to subserve political ends.