Robert Vadra, Congress president Rahul Gandhi's brother-in-law, was grilled on Friday for about seven hours as he appeared before the ED for the fifth time in connection with a money-laundering case related to purchase of alleged illegal assets abroad, officials said. Vadra reached the agency's office at Jamnagar House in central Delhi shortly before 11 am and left after 7 pm during which he had a lunch break too, they said.
The businessman has been grilled in this case four times in the past, the last being February 20. Officials said the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is confronting Vadra with documents and statements of other accused being investigated in the case and his statement is being recorded under section 50 (powers of authorities regarding summons, production of documents and to give evidence) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
During the last session, the businessman had told the investigating officer (IO) of the case that he was not well and hence, the recording of his statement was discontinued, the officials had said.
Vadra's appearance before the ED is related to a criminal complaint on allegations of money laundering to purchase assets abroad in an alleged illegal manner. Before Friday's questioning, Vadra has been quizzed by the sleuths of the central probe agency in this case for about 26 hours, over four different days earlier this month.
Delhi: Robert Vadra leaves from Enforcement Directorate (ED) office after appearing before it for the fifth time in a money laundering case pic.twitter.com/jprVYVgug2— ANI (@ANI) February 22, 2019
He has been asked by a Delhi court to cooperate in the probe being conducted by the central probe agency. ED's lawyers, during the last hearing in the case on February 16, had told the court that Vadra was "not cooperating and giving evasive replies".
His lawyer had denied the charge and said he was ready to come for questioning as and when called. The ED case against Vadra relates to allegations of money laundering in the purchase of a London-based property, located at 12, Bryanston Square and worth 1.9 million pounds, which is allegedly owned by the businessman in a "benami" way.
The agency had told the court that it had received information about various new properties in London that belonged to Vadra. These include two houses -- one worth 5 million pounds and the other valued at 4 million pounds -- six flats and other assets.
Vadra has denied the allegation of possessing illegal foreign assets and termed it a political witch-hunt against him. He has said he is being "hounded and harassed" to subserve political ends. His first appearance before the ED earlier this month had acquired political overtones after Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, his wife and Congress general secretary in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, had accompanied him to the investigating agency's office and picked him up after questioning another time.
Vadra had also deposed before the ED twice in Jaipur in connection with another money-laundering case related to an alleged land scam in Bikaner. His mother Maureen Vadra too was questioned by the agency once during the same deposition.