Enforcement Directorate has arrested 2 persons allegedly involved in the Bikaner Land Scam case. These two men were conduits and also linked to Congress President Rahul Gandhi's brother-in-law Robert Vadra's firm, according to PTI reports.
Enforcement Directorate has arrested 2 persons allegedly involved in the Bikaner Land Scam case. These two men were conduits and also linked to Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s brother-in-law Robert Vadra’s firm, according to PTI reports. So far, Vadra has not made any statement pertaining to the development. This is a long-standing issue over which war of words between Congress and BJP had erupted several times. Congress has maintained that this is nothing but vendetta and a witch-hunt.
The agency identified the arrested duo as Jaiprakash Bagarwa and Ashok Kumar. “Ashok Kumar is a close associate of Mahesh Nagar of Ms Skylight Hospitality Private Limited,” it said. They have been arrested under the PMLA law, it said. Skylight hospitality is a firm that has been alleged to be linked to Robert Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress President Rahul Gandhi. The agency had searched the premises of Kumar and Nagar in April this year. It had said that in four cases of land purchase in Bikaner by this firm that is alleged to be linked to Vadra, the “authorised representative” was Nagar. Kumar, it has been alleged by the agency, purchased land in the same area using the “power of attorney” of others. It is also alleged that Kumar is a “close associate” of Nagar.
The ED probe is related to the purchase of 275 bigha land allegedly by the company in the Kolayat area of the border town of Bikaner in Rajasthan, few years back. The ED had also attached assets worth Rs 1.18 crore of government officials and others in connection with the case under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The ED had registered a criminal case under the PMLA in this matter in 2015, taking cognisance of FIRs filed by the state police after the local Tehsildar had complained of alleged forgery. The agency, in this case, had also issued notices to the said firm linked to Vadra and has obtained certain documents from it. However, the ED has not mentioned the name of Vadra or any company linked to him in its FIR filed. In the FIR, it had named some Rajasthan government officials and the “land mafia”. Vadra had denied any wrongdoing even as the Congress called the action “sheer political vendetta”.
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The Rajasthan government had in January, 2015 cancelled the mutation (transfer of land) of 374.44 hectares of land, after the land department claimed to have found that the allotments were made in the names of “illegal private persons”.
Earlier this year, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi had reacted to the allegations about her allegedly acquiring properties and released a statement stating that the funds for the mentioned property or anything else acquired by her had no relation with her husband Robert Vadra’s finances or Skylight or DLF, according to ANI. Gandhi’s statement claimed that such allegations against her appeared to have been based on questionable documents and had been publicised deliberately. The statement further alleged that the statements were ‘politically motivated’ and ‘malicious’ in intent. According to a report by ANI, a statement from Priyanka’s office stated, “Six years prior to the purported “land deal involving Skylight Hospitality” on April 28, 2006 Smt. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, purchased 40 Kanal 00 Marla (= 5.0 acres) of agricultural land in Village Amipur, Tehsil Faridabad, District Faridabad in Haryana.” The statement further says, “Smt. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra paid applicable Stamp Duty of 4 percent (applying to a women purchaser of rural agricultural land) amounting to Rs. 60,000 (Rupees Sixty Thousand) on the purchase price of Rs. 15, 00,000….Smt. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra resold the said land to the original vendor pursuant to a right of first refusal on February 17, 2010 (four years later) for a sale price of Rs. 80,00,000 entirely by cheque which is the equivalent of Rs. 16,00,000 (Rupees Sixteen Lacs) per acre and was the prevailing market rate at that time.”