A special CBI court on Monday granted anticipatory bail to Robert Vadra and his close aide Manoj Arora in a money laundering case. Special Judge Arvind Kumar granted the relief to Vadra on furnishing a personal bond of Rs five lakh and a surety of like amount. The court said Vadra will not leave the country without prior permission.
It also imposed certain conditions on him and said he shall not tamper with any evidence, influence any witness in the case. Vadra, brother-in-law of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, is facing allegations of money laundering in purchase of a London-based property at 12, Bryanston Square worth 1.9 million pounds. Vadra and Arora were on an interim bail currently.
In his anticipatory bail plea, Vadra has 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 Manoj Arora, an employee of Vadra's Skylight Hospitality LLP, was a key person in the case and he was aware of the latter's 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.
"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 told the court.
ED 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)