ED questions Robert Vadra’s staff, Congress worker

ED questions Robert Vadra's staff, Congress worker
ED questions Robert Vadra’s staff, Congress worker

New Delhi, Dec 8 (IANS) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday questioned four persons, including a Congress worker and two employees of Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, in connection with defence deals, agency officials said.

An ED team raided at the residence of the Congress worker and Robert Vadra’s close aide Jagdish Sharma in the morning and took him to its office for questioning.

Besides the Congress worker, the ED questioned Manoj Arora, Ramesh Sharma and another person, whose identity was not disclosed. The ED had on Friday also questioned the three persons and raided their houses in Delhi, National Capital Region and Bengaluru.

While being taken by the ED officials, Jagdish Sharma told reporters: “Robert Vadra is being framed. Modi government wants to trap him. Searches are on at my residence. What will they get when there is nothing. They are taking me to ED office for questioning.”

The Congress, meanwhile, termed the ED searches at the premises of persons linked to Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s brother-in-law Vadra as “blind vendetta” to settle political scores.

According to the ED, the suspects are linked to the firms of Vadra and have relation to alleged commissions received by some suspects in defence deals. The agency refused to share the details of the defence deals.

Sources said the deals have links to a 2016 case registered under the Official Secrets Act when officials of the Income Tax department searched defence consultant Sanjay Bhandari’s house in New Delhi. During the search, the I-T reportedly recovered photocopies of classified documents of the Ministry of Defence.

The I-T also recovered emails from Bhandari’s computers that allegedly revealed his links to Vadra, with cryptic references to a London property. But Vadra’s lawyers later denied any “direct or indirect” link with the property.

The ED’s move came after Vadra was summoned second time by the agency for questioning in connection with the Bikaner land deal case. Vadra was told to appear in person before the ED in the first week of December.

Vadra’s advocate Suman Khaitan called the ED’s action a “foul play” while the agency officials claimed they have “evidence” that the persons being questioned had received money in their bank accounts from defence suppliers.

Khaitan claimed that the ED officials raided “close associates” and business partners of Vadra without even showing any search warrants.

Vadra had earlier this week alleged that the corruption probe against him was the result of a political witch-hunt aimed at “besmirching his dignity and reputation”.

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