The Delhi High Court on Thursday posted November 5 as the date for hearing in the matter of financial probe by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against businessman Robert Vadra.
The bench of Justice Chander Shekhar was listening to the arguments between ED advocate DP Singh today.
Singh stated that the trial court had not considered certain facts and termed Vadra “evasive and non-cooperative” and had “money chain that directly links to him”, demanding his custody on behalf of the investigation agency.
Vadra’s lawyer denied the allegations levied on his client and stated that the businessman had voluntarily joined the investigation process.
Justice Chander Shekhar also asked ED whether Vadra was arrested during the entire investigation or not.
The Delhi HC is hearing the plea of ED challenging the trial court order which had granted anticipatory bail to Robert Vadra and his close aide Manoj Arora in an alleged money laundering case.
On April 1, the trial court had granted anticipatory bail to Vadra and Arora while directing them to furnish a personal bond of Rs 5 lakh each and surety of the same amount.
In the reply filed by Vadra in response to the ED’s plea, he had denied all the allegations made by ED and stated that the investigation agency had only conducted fishing and roving enquiry and has no material to support the allegations made against him.
In response to the allegations of flight risk, Vadra had stated that he returned to India from abroad voluntarily upon reading media reports that ED was investigating him which made it abundantly clear that Vadra had no intention of whatsoever of fleeing the country and was determined to stay in India and clear the name.
He had also volunteered to appear before the ED even though he was yet to receive a summon from them and there alleged that there was not a single instance of non-cooperation that has been put before the court.
In his reply copy, he had further stated that there is no risk of Vadra tampering with any evidence as ED has already seized every last document pertaining to him.
It also stated that Vadra had no properties or beneficial ownership of any property outside India and had never received any ‘kickback’ for any ‘deal’ and any allegations of this nature were completely false.
Vadra alleged that the sole purpose of the agency is to cause prejudice in the mind of court and the public against him.
Vadra, who is facing money laundering charges, had sought more time to file reply on the plea as he is not in India.
Earlier, ED had approached the Delhi HC and stated that “The respondent (Vadra) is likely to tamper with evidence and influence witnesses in the case. The special judge (trial court) 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 agency had also 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.