The Rajasthan High Court has asked representatives of Skylight Hospitality, the firm linked to businessman and Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra, to appear for interrogation before the Enforcement Directorate in connection with land transactions in Bikaner, Rajasthan. The firm’s promoter, Mahesh Nagar, had challenged the summons issued by the ED for interrogation in High Court.
Refusing to grant relief, the bench of Justice P K Lohra on Friday said that they will have to appear before ED between January 4 and 6 next year. The bench allowed the petitioners assistance of lawyers “with reasonable distance”, and stated that the “investigating officer is expected to provide congenial/cordial atmosphere during interrogation”. The ED had issued the summons under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) over alleged purchase of 275 bigha land in Bikaner’s Kolayat region. Vadra has denied any irregularities.
Vikas Balia, representing Skylight, told The Sunday Express that the order was not a setback, as it “only grants what we wanted”. Balia said, “The HC has asked the interrogation to take place in a cordial atmosphere free of fear, etc. That is what we wanted. I can’t say anything more as the matter is sub judice.”
The Congress, meanwhile, alleged that summoning of Skylight and its officials by ED was part of “vendetta and witch-hunt that BJP continues to unleash guided by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi,” PTI reported.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said neither “Vadra nor Skylight, nor anyone associated with him (Vadra), is an accused in the case”. He said the ED has not been able to find anything against them.
“This is one more instance of venal vendetta and severe campaign that BJP continues to unleash guided by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi,” Surjewala said.
He claimed Skylight hospitality has supplied every document asked by it right “from inception of company as also completely unrelated things on purchase of land”.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “Whenever there is an attack on BJP over their misdoings, they just say ‘this has happened’, and ‘that had happened’ (in Congress-led governments). They are enquiring about it for so many years, why are they not able to find anything?”
Stating that the law will take its course, Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal, the Lok Sabha MP from Bikaner, said, “If a common man would have liked to buy that land, I am sure he wouldn’t be allowed to do so.”
(WITH PTI INPUTS)