The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice to businessman Robert Vadra and his close aide Manoj Arora on a plea by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seeking cancellation of the trial court order granting them anticipatory bail in a money laundering case.
A single bench of Justice Chander Shekhar sought the reply of Vadra and Arora on the plea and posted the matter for hearing to July 17.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and advocate DP Singh appeared before the court on behalf of the investigating agency.
“The respondent (Vadra) is likely to tamper with evidence and influence witnesses in the case. The special judge has failed to appreciate that the respondent is a highly influential person. If he is granted blanket protection of bail, there is all likelihood that the respondent shall tamper with evidence,” the ED plea said.
On May 24, the agency had pleaded in the high court for custodial interrogation of Vadra, the son-in-law of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, claiming that he was evasive during the probe.
The case relates to alleged money laundering in the purchase of a London-based property worth 1.9 million pounds.
The ED said that it wanted to question Vadra about the source of funds used for the purchase of the flat and ascertain the role of certain other people, who allegedly helped him launder money.
The agency alleged that one of the persons who helped Vadra launder money was Arora. It also claimed that Arora was aware of Vadra’s overseas undeclared assets and was instrumental in arranging funds for buying the flat.
The ED contended that the anticipatory bail to Vadra and Arora “interferes” in the investigation into the case.
“It is right to say that anticipatory bail, to some extent, intrudes in the sphere of investigation of crime and that the courts must be cautious and circumspect while exercising such power,” the plea said.
On April 1, Special CBI Court Judge Arvind Kumar had granted anticipatory bail to Vadra and Arora while directing them to furnish a personal bond of Rs. 5 lakh each and surety of like amount.
Imposing bail conditions, the court had asked them not to leave the country without permission.
The court had also said that Vadra and Arora will have to join the probe when called upon by the agency and directed them not to tamper with evidence or influence witnesses.