The Enforcement Directorate on Friday summoned Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s brother-in-law Robert Vadra for questioning in connection with the Bikaner land deal case, news reports quoted unidentified officials as saying. Officials told The Indian Express that Vadra has been asked to present himself in the first week of December as he had sent a legal representative instead of appearing himself on November 20.
Earlier on Friday, the newspaper had reported that the Income Tax Settlement Commission had granted Bhushan Power and Steel respite from a penalty in 2013 after it sanctioned a loan of over Rs 5 crore to a firm that bought land owned by a company linked to Vadra. The price of the land, in Bikaner, was allegedly significantly higher than its purchase price in 2010.
Vadra, however, refuted the claims and accused the Bharatiya Janata Party government of leaking “false allegations” against him ahead of the Assembly elections in Rajasthan. He said the claims were “entirely false” and that the BJP was trying to divert attention away from its maladministration in Rajasthan through these leaks. He claimed that the saffron party resorts to such a “plan B every time they find themselves on the back foot, be it Rafale or the prospect of losing Assembly elections”.
Meanwhile, BJP national president Amit Shah referred to the media report and demanded that Gandhi issue a statement on the matter, ANI reported. “I want to ask Rahul Gandhi if he can answer now?” Shah told an election rally in Rajasthan’s Nagaur.
Congress leader Ahmed Patel said the summons were “politically motivated” and the law should take its own course, ANI reported.
The report in The Indian Express claimed that the investigating agency has asked the Income Tax Settlement Commission for information about its decision and a copy of the order.
The Enforcement Directorate is investigating the case based on a first information report filed by the Rajasthan Police in 2015. The investigating agency has registered a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act alleging that Vadra-owned Sky Light Hospitality bought and sold the land in Bikaner at an extremely high price through several illegal transactions.