Priyanka makes political statement by dropping husband off at ED office
Congress leader Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra on Wednesday appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a money laundering case for the alleged possession of illegal foreign assets. The Congress tried to tactically turn the focus away from him by having Priyanka drop her husband at the Enforcement Directorate office.
In what could be seen as a political message, Priyanka said, “I stand by my family. He is my husband, he is my family…I support my family.”
Asked if it was a political vendetta, she said everyone knows why this is being done. Priyanka’s show of support to her husband came days after an emotional message from Vadra on her appointment as AICC general secretary.
Vadra entered the ED office around 3.45 pm, and soon a team of his lawyers reached the ED office at Jamnagar House here. This is the first time Vadra turned up before a probe agency for questioning on charges of dubious financial dealings.
However, Vadra has denied the allegations and claimed the cases are an outcome of a political witch-hunt.
After dropping Vadra off outside the ED office, Priyanka, who is an SPG protectee, went back in her white Toyota Land Cruiser with a convoy of vehicles carrying the elite commandos.
Vadra was directed by a Delhi court to cooperate with the ED investigation after he approached the court seeking anticipatory bail in the money laundering case. The court had asked him to appear before the ED on Wednesday on his return from London.
A team of three ED officials asked Vadra about transactions, purchase and possession of certain immovable assets in London. His statement was recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), official sources said.
The case relates to the purchase allegedly by Vadra of a London-based property located at 12, Bryanston Square worth 1.9 million GBP (British pounds). The agency had told the court that it has received information about various new properties in London which belong to Vadra.
In December, the ED had raided and questioned Vadra’s aide Manoj Arora, an employee of Skylight Hospitality LLP, a firm linked to Vadra.
The ED has alleged that the London-based property was bought by arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari for 1.9 million GBP and sold in 2010 for the same amount despite incurring additional expenses of approximately 65,900 GBP on its renovation.
“This gives credence to the fact that Bhandari was not the actual owner of the property but it was beneficially owned by Vadra who was incurring expenditure on the renovation of this property,” the ED had told the court.
Arora, a key link in the case, was aware of Vadra’s overseas undeclared assets and was instrumental in arranging funds, the ED had alleged.
Vadra has also been directed by the Rajasthan High Court to appear before the ED again on February 12 in connection with another money laundering case being probed by the agency.
Thursday, 07 February 2019 | PNS | New Delhi
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