ED wraps up Vadra's aide over involvement in money laundering case
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has begun questioning Manoj Arora, a close aide of Robert Vadra, in connection with a money-laundering probe against Congress leader Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law. Officials said Arora was questioned by the investigating officer of the case on Monday and twice last week during which his statement was recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Arora is an employee of Vadra's firm Skylight Hospitality LLP and he is being probed on allegations of money laundering in the purchase of London-based property 12, Bryanston Square, worth 1.9 million pounds, which was allegedly owned by Vadra. Arora had earlier told the court that he is being embroiled in the case due to "political vendetta" of the government. Officials said he may be questioned a few more times.
The ED had told the court that it has lodged a money laundering case against Arora after his role came up in another case being probed the Income Tax Department under the newly-enacted Black Money Act and domestic tax law against absconding arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari. It said the London-based property was bought by Bhandari for GBP 1.9 million and sold in 2010 for the same amount despite incurring additional expenses of approximately GBP 65,900 on its renovation.
The central probe agency has said Arora was a "key person" in the case and he was aware of the undeclared overseas assets of Vadra and instrumental in arranging funds. Arora, fearing arrest by the ED, had approached a Delhi court seeking anticipatory bail after which the court had directed him to join the investigation as it also granted interim protection to him from arrest by the agency. The ED had submitted that Arora has been absconding since the search of his premises by the agency sometime back and hence it had then sought a non-bailable warrant against him.
(With inputs from agencies.)