In Enforcement Directorate case, Robert Vadra seeks anticipatory bail in court

Pritam Pal Singh
Robert Vadra (File Photo)

Fearing arrest in an alleged money laundering case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) regarding "ownership of undisclosed assets abroad", Robert Vadra, brother-in-law of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, approached a Delhi court Friday, seeking anticipatory bail. His application is likely to be heard Saturday.

On December 7, the ED conducted searches in Delhi and Bengaluru and one of the premises searched, according to Vadra's lawyer Suman Khaitan, was Vadra's office in Sukhdev Vihar, New Delhi.

In a statement a day later, the ED, while rejecting allegations by Khaitan and the Congress that its teams had acted without search warrants, said it was "conducting PMLA investigations in certain cases relating to ownership of undisclosed assets abroad. As part of these investigations, the Directorate has carried out search operations on 07 December 2018 under PMLA at a number of premises in Delhi-NCR and Bengaluru by issue of search warrants under Section 17 of PMLA".

On Friday, in his application filed by Khaitan's law firm which made ED the respondent, Vadra urged the court to "issue an appropriate order… directing the respondents to immediately release the Petitioner on bail upon his arrest… and pass any other and further orders which this Hon'ble Court may deem fit and proper in facts and circumstances of this case or in the interest of justice".

The application referred to a bail application on behalf of Manoj Arora which is "already pending adjudication" before the Special Judge (CBI).

Arora, who is said to be an employee of Vadra, had earlier been questioned by the Enforcement Directorate. He was being investigated in an alleged money laundering case involving the purchase of a London property worth 1.9 million pounds.

After the December 7 searches, Khaitan, in a statement posted by Vadra on his Facebook page, referred to the ED searches at Sukhdev Vihar in New Delhi and said: "We apprehend that they are going to plant false, fabricated and incriminating material in Shri Robert Vadra's office as also exercise illegal coercion to create undue harassment and pressure."