The Enforcement Directorate alleged on Tuesday that Robert Vadra, son-in-law of former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, had "renovated and stayed" at a London property, which they claim to be a "proceeds of crime" in a money laundering case against suspected middleman Sanjay Bhandari.
In 2016, Bhandari escaped to the UK, and in January this year, his extradition to India was approved by the British government. This came in response to the legal request submitted by the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The two central agencies are probing charges of money laundering and tax evasion against the businessman for holding alleged undisclosed assets abroad.
For the first time, Robert Vadra has been mentioned in this case by the federal agency.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) announced in a statement that it has lodged a new charge sheet against Cheruvathur Chakutty Thampi, also known as C C Thampi, a UAE-based NRI businessman based in the UAE, and Sumit Chadha, a UK national.
Thampi, who was apprehended in connection to this case in January 2020, was claimed by the ED to be a "close associate" of Vadra. Currently, Thampi is out on bail.
"Sanjay Bhandari held various undisclosed foreign income and assets including following properties at no. 12 Bryanston Square, London and 6 Grosvenor Hill Court, London," the ED said.
"These assets are proceeds of crime as per the provisions of the PMLA and C C Thampi and Sumit Chadha have been found to be involved in the concealment and use of these proceeds of crime," the ED charged.
"ED investigation further revealed that C.C. Thampi is a close associate of Mr Robert Vadra," the agency said.
"Robert Vadra not only renovated the aforesaid property at 12 Bryanston Square, London through Sumit Chadha but also stayed in the same. Further, Robert Vadra as well as C. C. Thampi purchased huge chunk of land at Faridabad and had financial transactions with each other," it added.
Vadra, the husband of Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, has been questioned by the ED in the past and he has denied wrongdoing.
The ED said the Delhi court took cognisance of the supplementary prosecution complaint, filed under the criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in November, on 22 December.
Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.
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