The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday continued its searches on people associated with firms linked to Robert Vadra, brother-in-law of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, even as a bevy of Congress leaders addressed separate media conferences and accused the ED of conducting the searches at offices of Vadra and residences of his associates allegedly without an FIR or enforcement case information report (ECIR).
The ED subsequently issued a statement rebutting allegations by the Congress leaders and Vadra’s lawyer that searches were conducted without a warrant.
The ED has said it is probing a money laundering case related to some assets abroad and has followed all procedures in conducting the raids on Friday.
Sources said the raids are linked to two cases of money laundering registered by the agency. They also said four people were questioned by the agency on Saturday. Their identities were not disclosed.
The ED said in a statement, “Directorate of Enforcement is conducting PMLA investigations in certain cases relating to ownership of undisclosed assets abroad. As part of these investigations, the Directorate has carried out search operations on 7 December 2018 under PMLA at a number of premises in Delhi-NCR and Bengaluru by issue of search warrants under Section 17 of PMLA.”
Maintaining that the searches were carried out “as per the prescribed procedure”, the ED stated, “Documents and digital evidence seized during these searches are being examined. Further investigations are in progress.”
Senior Congress leaders Ahmed Patel, Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Singhvi and Randeep Surjewala addressed two press conferences and took on the government for allegedly reacting to the exit polls, which have forecast a dent in BJP’s fortunes in the recent Assembly polls.
Addressing the media, Sibal said, “There is no FIR or ECIR against Vadra. People of ED reach his office…without warrant, does not disclose their identity…they broke open the door, break almirahs and cupboards…under which law all this is being done?”
He said four employees were illegally detained and let off only at 4.30 am. “They were beaten up, assaulted and unko kaha ki tumhe dande se maar-maar ke seedha kar denge (they were told that they will be beaten up). Their signatures were taken in blank papers and in some other written documents,” he claimed.
“If this is the situation after exit polls, what will happen when you (BJP) actually exit,” Sibal asked.
Addressing another press conference, Singhvi said, “All four detained employees were roughed up and assaulted and threatened that they would be beaten up with sticks (dandas). A sick child of an employee was neither permitted to speak to his father, nor any arrangement was made to provide any medical aid.”
The Congress named some of the officers, with party leader Pawan Khera stating, “These officers should understand that they should not act in an unlawful manner…mausam badalte der nahin lagti….aur mausam badalne ki aahat aa hi chuki hain (it doesn’t take weather to change, and there are signs that change is around the corner). They will be held accountable for every single illegality that they have indulged into on behalf of their political masters.”