The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday sought custodial interrogation of businessman Robert Vadra in a money laundering case.
ED told a special CBI court that Vadra was harassing the investigative agency and countered his claims of "political witch hunt" and harassment during the hearing of the anticipatory bail pleas of Vadra and his associate Manoj Arora.
"Harassment is being caused by Robert Vadra. We say let him come and join the investigation. It is held in camera and he comes for the sessions accompanied by many people including his wife and then he claims that he is 'hounded and harassed' to subserve political ends. Vadra is attempting to over-awe the system," ED said through Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) DP Singh.
After hearing the claims and counterclaims, Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar reserved the order on the bail pleas to April 1.
The court till then extended the interim relief of Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, and his aide Manoj Arora who are being probed by the ED in the money laundering case.
During the course of the hearing, ED pushed for the custodial interrogation of the accused while alleging that they can hamper the investigation. "We need custodial interrogation of the accused persons and we have sufficient material available. If they are allowed free, they can hamper the investigation," ED told the Special CBI Judge.
It showed the money trail of the London property in question. "Property was bought by Sanjay Bhandari through his company Syntac. The property was then sold to Vertex for 1.9 million pounds through share purchase. Later, the renovation was carried out with 65 thousand pound. It was later sold for the same amount despite renovations by CC Thampi through his company Skylight Dubai. The money later returned to Syntac, thus a round trip was established," SPP Singh told the court.
The agency also showed a mail trail between the accused allegedly discussing the London property. "Vipul Beriwala, Sanjeev Sharma and Jagdish Sharma are main players in the scam and whatever they are talking about clearly shows that the discussion of the real estate deal. They were then in UK itself," SPP Singh said in the court.
"During the investigation, we have come across the 100 acres of properties in Faridabad. One person HL Pahwa has played a role here. He has a negative balance. But he has still purchased several lands in cash. He has not taken any bank loan. These lands were later sold to Vadra. He has a significant income but there is no turnover," the Enforcement Directorate added.
"It is a half baked case. ED is seeking custodial interrogation of my clients, it's questionable. The agency has already interrogated them so many hours and so many times. All the seized documents are already under their custody," said Congress leader and senior advocate KTS Tulsi, appearing for the accused persons.
Supporting Tulsi's claims, senior Congress leader and advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi denied the allegations of the ED saying that his client does not own any property in London.
In the hearing on March 25, ED had informed the court that offence is about the money coming in as kickbacks, Rs. 300 crore from Pilatis and another one from Samsung. The payment is coming in the banks. Following the claim, the agency showed a flow chart regarding the allegations.
The court was hearing two anticipatory bail pleas filed by Vadra, son-in-law of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, and his aide Manoj Arora.
On March 19, the ED had sought custodial interrogation of Vadra alleging that he is not cooperating in the investigations in connection with the purchase of the London-based property at 12, Bryanston Square, allegedly worth 1.9 million pounds.