Podcast | Why is The ED Questioning Robert Vadra?
Robert Vadra is back in the news after...let's just say it's been a while since the media accused him in the DLF land grab scam in 2013. And what caused his comeback was apparently an email.
Today’s Big Story is on Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi’s husband Robert Vadra – who is being questioned by the ED in connection with a property, worth 1.9 million pounds, allegedly owned by him in London at 12, Bryanston Square. Tune in!
Now let’s start with the email. Sources from ED told The Quint that they found an email from Robert Vadra addressed to a person, Sanjay Bhandari, to take care of his property in Bryanston Square. This, they said is the only electronic evidence the ED has to show that Vadra could be the owner of the property.
- So the first question is, why is the ED looking to prove that Vadra is the owner of this property?
- And the second question is, who is Sanjay Bhandari?
To answer the first question — the ED alleged that Vadra purchased this particular property with the money he received as a kickback in a defense deal through an arms dealer.
To answer the second question — the arms dealer in concern is Sanjay Bhandari. Coming to the controversial defense deal in the centre of this. The allegation is that a deal was made for 75 Swiss Pilatus PC- 7 basic trainer aircrafts worth Rs 2,896 crores when UPA was in power in 2012. And who made the deal? The ED alleged Sanjay Bhandari.
Investigative agencies allegedly found out that Bhandari received around 7,50,000 Swiss Francs that means about Rs 5.36 crores in his company Offset India Solutions from this defense deal.
The ED alleged that the money from Bhandari's company was transferred to the bank account of a shell company and that money was used to buy the said property. So that's why Vadra has had two straight days of being grilled by the ED.
The ED also questioned Vadra's CA Manoj Arora. What makes Arora a key suspect? It's because he may be aware of the overseas investments and purchases made by his employer. And where is Sanjay Bhandari now? Absconding.
Obviously this was opportunity enough for the BJP to accuse Congress of "dirty politics" and Congress obviously didn't take it lying down. BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra has also alleged that Vadra received kickbacks from a petroleum deal in 2009 through which he bought several other properties in the UK, but the ED isn't investigating the other properties yet.
Vadra in his turn denied all allegations including that of sending any email regarding the Bryanston property.