Robert Vadra
Robert Vadra
PTI Photo/Ravi Choudhary

New Delhi: Robert Vadra has opposed in the Delhi High Court the Enforcement Directorate's plea challenging his anticipatory bail in a money laundering case.

Vadra, son-in-law of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, said in his reply that there was no single instance of his non-cooperation with the investigation and there was no risk of him tampering with any evidence as the ED has already seized from him every document pertaining to the case. ED was conducting a fishing and roving enquiry and has no material to support the allegations made against him, he claimed.

The matter is scheduled to come up for hearing in the court on September 26. ED had sought in the high court cancellation of Vadra's anticipatory bail on the ground that it required his custody as he was not cooperating in the investigation.

Regarding the allegation of flight risk, Vadra said in his reply, "The conduct of the respondent (Vadra) in returning to India from abroad voluntarily upon reading press reports that ED was investigating him 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."

The response added that Vadra has volunteered to appear before the probe agency even though he was yet to receive summons from them. No specific allegation has been made by the agency to suggest that Vadra has in any way attempted to or actually succeeded in tampering with any evidence or witness, it said.

"Vadra has no properties outside India whatsoever nor does he have any beneficial ownership of any property outside India," the reply claimed. It added that Vadra has never received any 'kickback' for any 'deal' and any allegations of this nature are completely false.

It claimed that the sole purpose of the agency is to cause prejudice in the mind of court and the public against Vadra. Vadra is facing allegations of money laundering in the purchase of a London-based property at 12, Bryanston Square worth 1.9 million pounds (over Rs 17 crore).

The case is being probed under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The trial court, while granting anticipatory bail to Vadra, had directed him not to leave the country without prior permission and also to join the probe as and when called by the investigating officer.

The ED had told the court that they required his custody as he was not cooperating in the investigation and the trial court had not discussed the gravity of the offence in its order. The agency had said that everything was shown to the trial court special judge but it has not discussed the gravity of the offence in the trial court order.

The plea has challenged the trial court's order saying the special judge had failed to consider the settled position of law that bail should not be "granted in a routine manner".

It had said the protection given to him would be detrimental to its probe on certain crucial aspects, including ascertaining the exact source of the allegedly tainted money and the end use of the funds involved in the case. ED had further said that Vadra has "maliciously" claimed to be a victim of political vendetta and made all possible attempts to sensationalise the case.

It had said the other important aspects of the probe are related to unearthing the entire source of credits for purchasing the properties and ascertaining the details of all similar transactions in the accounts of the entities concerned.

The agency had said it will also require to confront Vadra with voluminous incriminating material for bringing the investigation to a logical conclusion. ED said it has received information about various new properties in London which allegedly belong to Vadra, including two houses worth 4-5 million pounds each and six flats.

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Free Press Journal