New Delhi, Dec 28 (The Street Press India) – The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is looking into the purchase of three pieces of land in Haryana back in 2005-06. This investigation focuses on Congress leader Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law, Robert Vadra, who bought the land from a real estate agent. The ED is also examining a land deal involving Robert Vadra’s wife, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. These details come from a recently filed charge-sheet in a money laundering case.
In November, the federal agency filed a charge-sheet (prosecution complaint) against NRI businessman C C Thampi, reportedly linked to Robert Vadra, and Sumit Chadha, a relative of alleged middleman Sanjay Bhandari.
While Robert Vadra and Priyanka Gandhi, a Congress general secretary, are not named as accused in the charge-sheet, it marks the first instance where they are mentioned together in the complaint. The special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Delhi acknowledged the charge-sheet on December 22, scheduling the next hearing for January 29, 2024.
In 2016, Sanjay Bhandari fled to the UK, and in January, the British government approved his extradition to India based on requests from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Both federal agencies are investigating charges of money laundering and tax evasion against the alleged middleman for holding undisclosed assets abroad.
The ED, in its charge-sheet, revealed that it discovered the land purchase and sale transactions of the Vadras while investigating a Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) case against 67-year-old Thampi in 2015. The agency emphasized a “long and thick relationship” between Robert Vadra and Thampi.
Robert Vadra has previously been questioned by the agency in this case, consistently denying any wrongdoing.
The ED highlighted that Thampi acquired approximately 486 acres of land in Amirpur village, Faridabad, Haryana, between 2005 and 2008. These acquisitions were made through H L Pahwa, a real estate agent based in Delhi-NCR.
“It is imperative to mention that Robert Vadra also purchased three pieces of land measuring 334 kanals (40.08 acres) in Amirpur from H L Pahwa from 2005-2006 and sold the same land to H L Pahwa in December 2010,” it said in the chargesheet “Further, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra wife of Robert Vadra also purchased agricultural land measuring 40 kanal (05 acres) in village Amirpur, district Faridabad, Haryana, from H L Pahwa in April 2006 and sold the same land to H L Pahwa in February 2010,” the ED stated.
According to the ED, it was observed that “Pahwa was receiving cash out of the books for the purpose of acquisition of land.” The agency also noted that Robert Vadra didn’t fully pay the consideration to Pahwa, and the investigation into this matter is still ongoing.
Thampi was arrested in January 2020 in connection with this case, and the ED recently claimed in a press statement that he was a “close associate” of Robert Vadra. Thampi is currently out on bail.
The agency further mentioned that Robert Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, “renovated and stayed” at a London property, which is considered “proceeds of crime” in the money laundering case being investigated against Bhandari.
The ED initiated a criminal case against Sanjay Bhandari and others in February 2017, acknowledging an Income Tax Department chargesheet filed against him under the anti-black money law of 2015.