Cancel Robert Vadra’s anticipatory bail, ED tells Delhi High Court

Businessman Robert Vadra arrives at the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office for questioning in connection with a money laundering case. (file)

The Enforcement Directorate Friday moved the Delhi High Court seeking cancellation of anticipatory bail granted to Robert Vadra in a money laundering case, news agency PTI reported.

Vadra, brother-in-law of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, was granted anticipatory bail by a trial court in Delhi on April 1.

The plea filed by ED Prosecutor D P Singh, according to PTI, stated that the protection offered to Vadra would undermine the ongoing investigation against him.

Besides Vadra, the agency has also challenged the anticipatory bail granted to his close aide Manoj Arora. Vadra is facing allegations of money laundering in connection with the purchase of a London-based property at 12, Bryanston Square worth 1.9 million pounds.

The plea is likely to be listed for hearing on Monday.

The trial court, while granting Vadra relief, had directed him not to leave the country without prior permission and also to join the investigation as and when called by the investigating officer.

The court had observed in its order that Vadra’s office premises were searched on December 7 and 8, 2018 and voluminous documents running into nearly 20,000 pages were seized.

It had further noted that he had filed application for anticipatory bail on February 1 and on February 6 he was directed to join the investigation.

The ED had opposed Vadra’s application, saying he was "needed to be dealt with custodial interrogation and that there was a risk of tampering with the investigation".

In his application, Vadra had alleged that 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 ED had also alleged that Arora, a close aide of Vadra, was aware of his overseas undeclared assets and was instrumental in arranging funds.

According to ED, it lodged the money laundering case against Arora after his role came up during the probe of another case by the Income Tax Department under the newly enacted Black Money Act and tax law against absconding arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari.

It alleged that the London-based property was bought by Bhandari for GBP 1.9 million and sold in 2010 for the same amount despite incurring additional expenses of approximately GBP 65,900 on its renovation.

The ED had said it has received information about various new properties in London which allegedly belong to Vadra, including two houses of five and four million pounds each and six other flats.

with PTI inputs