ED seeks land deal documents from firm linked to Robert Vadra, Congress seeks unbiased probe

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New Delhi | Updated: June 22, 2016 4:37:53 PM

The Enforcement Directorate has issued a notice to a firm linked to Congress President Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra owned Skylight Hospitality

Robert Vadra friskingThe probe is related to the purchase of 275 bigha land allegedly by the company in the Kolayat area of the border town of Bikaner. (Express photo)

The Enforcement Directorate has issued a notice to a firm Skylight Hospitality linked to Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra asking the company to handover the documents related to the land deal in Rajasthan’s Bikaner district.

The ED has given the company time till June 24 to reply. But, Robert Vadra firm has denied receiving any notice from the Enforcement Directorate.

The company has been asked to submit certain financial statements and other important documents to the investigating officer in the case.

Also Read: Sonia Gandhi’s defence of Robert Vadra shows he has blessings of 10 Janpath: BJP

The probe is related to the purchase of 275 bigha land allegedly by the company in the Kolayat area of the border town of Bikaner.

Yesterday Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took a dig at Robert Vadra while attacking Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi and said: “Mr Modi, I am not Rahul, Sonia Gandhi or Rober Vadra.”

2:23 PM: I demand that CBI & local police should file criminal conspiracy case against Vadra: BJP leader Kirit Somaiya says.

12:50PM: Robert Vadra firm denied receiving notice from Enforcement Directorate

12:40:PM No response from Robert Vadra’s firm to Enforcement Directorate notice

11: 30 PM: Enforcement Directorate asks Skylight Hospitality to hand over the documents related to land deal.

11: 02 PM: Enforcement Directorate issues notice to Robert Vadra owned Skylight Hospitality

The notice has been issued under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Skylight Hospitality is one of the seven companies involved in the Bikaner land deal case

Further to this, here are more details:

The ED has not mentioned the name of Vadra or any company linked to him in the FIR but it named some state government officials and some of the “land mafia”.

ED suspects that huge amounts of money was laundered in this case by people buying land at cheap rates through forged documents.

Nobody is above law in this country; everyone is equal before the law," he told ANI.Nobody is above law in this country; everyone is equal before the law,? he told ANI.

Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State for Home Affairs, denied any vendetta behind the Enforcement Directorate’s notice to a firm linked to Robert Vadra and added no one in this country is above the law.

Congress demanded an transparent and unbiased investigation into land deal and said that it should not be aimed to harass anyone.  Congress leader P.L. Punia told ANI: “Since this government has assumed office, they have been targeting us. They are highlighting the issues pertaining to the Congress. They are using the media to portray as if there was serious implication.”

According to sources, around 1400 acres of land was acquired and sold to seven different companies illegally. Out of the seven companies one was Skylight Hospitality, a firm owned and operated by Robert Vadra.

Rajasthan government  in January last year had cancelled the mutation 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”.

The Enforcement Directorate had earlier on May 6 conducted searches at eight premises in Bikaner and nearby areas in connection with the case.  The Enforcement Directorate registered a money laundering case against certain real estate developers and Rajasthan government officials to probe the Bikaner land scam.

The Deccan Herald draws an interesting parallel. “As the allegations against Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi cause embarrassment to the party and country’s first political family, few would be aware that another son-in-law of the Nehru–Gandhi dynasty, Feroze Gandhi (September 12, 1912 – September 8, 1960), was instrumental in exposing independent India’s first corruption scam,” the newspaper says.

The India Today magazine on Robert Vadra’s various business links reported:
“He is a director in five companies—Sky Light Hospitality, Blue Breeze Trading, Sky Light Realty, Real Earth Estates, North India IT Parks, additional director in Lambodar Art Enterprises and MD of six entities—Lifeline Agrotech, Greenways Agro, Rightline Agriculture, Future Infra Agro, Best Seasons Agro and Prime Time Agro which were constituted only in 2012, according to data available from the ministry of corporate affairs as on September 28, 2012. The individual records of each company show that his companies have masses of land banks across three states. Barring the agro companies, all his other companies have a common address—268 Sukhdev Vihar, New Delhi- 110025. The property, which he first rented, was purchased from owner J.S. Walia. The first five companies have him and his mother as directors,” the report said.

According to The business Standard, Sky Light Hospitality invested the entire loan amount plus share capital in a piece of land at Manesar. That was the first instalment, with a second instalment of Rs.7.43 crore paid the following year (2008-09). It would be unusual for any public sector bank to fund virtually the entire value of a big-ticket land purchase; perhaps the bank already had a business relationship with Mr Vadra, or they knew of his family connections, or both. Whatever the case, they must have considered him a good risk—which, as it turned out, he was because the money was returned in a year or less,” the report says.

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