Connect with us

Politics

Robert Vadra questioned by ED for 5.5 hours; wife Priyanka says ‘I support my family’

Published

on

New Delhi | Robert Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, was Wednesday questioned by Enforcement Directorate (ED) here for about five-and-a half hours in its money laundering probe into alleged possession of illegal foreign assets, days after he was directed by a city court to appear before the central probe agency.

Vadra’s wife Priyanka Gandhi accompanied him in a white Toyota Land Cruiser and dropped him outside the ED’s office in Jamnagar House, a move seen as sending a political message to Congress’s opponents ahead of Lok Sabha polls.  Vadra left the office at about 9:40 PM alone in the same car in which Priyanka had dropped him.

His lawyer said Vadra has replied to every question that was put to him. “All charges against him are wrong. We will cooperate with the agency 100 per cent. He will come whenever he is called,” Suman Jyoti Khaitan, his lawyer told the mediapersons waiting outside the ED office. Officials said Vadra has been called again Thursday.

Priyanka, shortly after dropping her husband, took charge as AICC general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh East, after her formal induction into the Congress party on January 23. “He is my husband, he is my family…I support my family,” Priyanka said in a show of support to Vadra, who returned from London earlier in the day.

Priyanka was asked by newsmen at the All India Congress Committee headquarters whether she was sending any message by dropping her husband at the ED office. Asked if it was a political vendetta, she said everyone knows why this is being done.

On the day of Priyanka’s appointment, Vadra had sent an emotional message to her. “Congratulations P… always by your side in every phase of your life. Give it your best,” Vadra said in a Facebook post.

It is for the first time that Vadra, son-in-law of Sonia Gandhi, is appearing before any probe agency in connection with alleged criminal charges of dubious financial dealings.

After wading through a posse of assembled mediapersons, Vadra entered the ED office at around 3:47 pm, minutes after a team of his lawyers reached the premises. He then signed the attendance register before being taken in for questioning.

Vadra has denied allegations of possessing illegal foreign assets and termed them a political witch hunt against him. He has alleged he was being “hounded and harassed” to subserve political ends.

Ahead of the questioning by a team of three ED officials, official sources said Vadra was put through a dozen questions on transactions, purchase and possession of certain immovable assets in London and his statement was recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.?

It is understood he was also grilled about his links with absconding and controversial defence dealer Sanjay Bhandari and Bhandari’s relative Sumit Chhadha in connection with certain emails recovered by agencies linked to the renovation of a London-based property.

Vadra was directed by a Delhi court on February 2 to cooperate with the probe being carried out by ED after he knocked at its door seeking anticipatory bail in the money laundering case. The court directed him to appear before ED on Wednesday on his return from London.

The BJP seized on the questioning of Vadra to attack the Congress and alleged he got kickbacks from a petroleum and defence deals took place during the UPA regime.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra alleged at a news conference that Vadra bought 8 to 9 properties in London from the money he got as kickbacks from a petroleum and a defence deal which took place in 2008-09. Patra did not provide any evidence to back his claim.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi claimed the charges against Vadra are “fickle, superficial, non-existent, non-substantive”. The BJP had full four and a half years to investigate but could not find anything, he claimed at a news conference. The attempt is to mislead, confuse and to create and ambience before election, but people see through this, he said.

The ED case against Vadra relates to allegations of money laundering in the purchase of a London-based property located at 12, Bryanston Square worth 1.9 million GBP (British pounds), which is allegedly owned by him.

The agency had also told the court that it has received information about various new properties in London which belongs to Vadra, including two houses of five and four million each, six other flats and more properties.

The ED had carried out raids in the case in December last year and grilled his aide Manoj Arora, an employee of a firm linked to Vadra, Skylight Hospitality LLP.

The agency had told the court that it filed a PMLA case against Arora after his role cropped up during the probe of another case by the Income Tax Department under the 2015 anti-blackmoney legislation against absconding Bhandari.

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

“This gives credence to the fact that Bhandari was not the actual owner of the property but it was beneficially owned by Vadra who was incurring expenditure on the renovation of this property,” the ED had claimed before the court.

Arora was a key person in the case and he was aware of Vadra’s overseas undeclared assets, ED had alleged.

Politics

Pulwama attack: Shiv Sena MLC wants boycott of tourism in Jammu and Kashmir

Published

on

By

CRPF

Mumbai | Against the backdrop of the Pulwama terrorist attack that claimed lives of 40 CRPF personnel, a Shiv Sena MLC wants people from other parts of India to boycott tourism in Jammu and Kashmir for two years.

Sena legislator and spokesperson Manisha Kayande said boycotting tourism in Jammu and Kashmir, “where youth, women and children pelt stones on security forces”, would hurt the economic resources of the northern state. “The need of the hour is to counter the mentality of keeping the state on tenterhooks by targeting Indian jawans,” she said in a statement issued on Saturday.

Noting that Jammu and Kashmir is a beautiful state that attracts visitors from across the globe, Kayande said, “Tourism benefits the local people. If these resources earned are used against the country and the security forces, Indians should boycott tourism in the state for next two years.”

“Whenever there is an encounter between militants and security agencies, locals pelt stones on jawans to help militants get away,” she claimed. The Sena leader also demanded boycott of all Chinese goods, saying that country was supportive of Pakistan, which has been fomenting trouble in India.

China on Friday condemned the Pulwama terror attack carried out by a Jaish suicide bomber but declined to back India’s appeal to list the Pakistan-based terror group’s chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN.

At least 40 CRPF personnel were killed and five injured on Thursday in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir when a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus in Pulwama district.

Continue Reading

Politics

Rajinikanth and his party won’t contest 2019 Lok Sabha polls

News Desk

Published

on

Chennai | Actor turned politician Rajinikanth has announced that he along with his party Rajni Makkal Mandram won’t be contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha polls in 2019.

In an issued Press release Rajinikanth stated that his party Rajni Makkal Mandram (RMM) will not support any party and added that its focus will on next assembly elections. The Tamil actor also appealed to his supporters to that he wants them to vote for a party which will solve Tamil Nadu’s water issues.

Rajinikanth further mentioned that his photo or party symbol should strictly not be used for any propaganda. On 31 December 2017 Rajinikanth had announced his entry into politics with the intention to contest in the 2021 Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly elections in all 234 constituencies.

Out of the 2014 Lok Sabha election held on the 39 seats in Tamil Nadu, AIADMK won 37 seats while PMK and BJP managed to win 1 seat each. DMK and Congress failed to win even a single seat in Tamil Nadu.

Continue Reading

Politics

Lok Sabha polls: Mumbai Congress promises jobs, unemployment allowance

Published

on

By

Mumbai | The Mumbai Congress is set to roll out a campaign aimed at providing employment to youth in the megacity and a monthly allowance to unemployed people if the party is voted to power in the Lok Sabha polls.

The campaign, titled ‘Chalo Ward Abhiyaan’, taken up in view of the “rising unemployment in the country”, will commence from Monday, Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam said in a statement. The city Congress unit has already started working on the plan and printed around six lakh forms, he said.

The Youth Congress workers will be visiting every house in all the Assembly segments in Mumbai to ensure that every youngster fills these forms, Nirupam said. “Those who fill the forms will be given allowance cards. If we are voted to power, the allowance card holders will be given preference in employment, or else they will provided unemployment allowance,” he said.

Nirupam said people between 18 and 40 years of age would be eligible for the unemployment allowance. The new Congress-led governments in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have already announced unemployment allowances of Rs 3,500 and Rs 4,000 per month respectively, he noted.

Nirupam also said that unlike the ruling BJP, the Congress will “actually walk the talk”, if it is voted to power in the Lok Sabha elections.

Continue Reading

Popular Stories

Copyright © 2018 Theo Connect Pvt. Ltd. info@hwnews.in