The Enforcement Directorate (ED) Friday moved the Delhi High Court seeking to cancel anticipatory bail granted to Robert Vadra, brother-in-law of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, in a case of alleged money laundering.
Seeking Vadra’s custodial interrogation and lifting of protection from arrest, the agency said they want to ascertain the exact source of the “tainted money and the end use of such funds involved in the instant case”.
It said that his “bald denials” to basic facts is contrary to records of the case and only highlights his “non-cooperation and evasive attitude”.
The agency claimed that if Vadra’s stand is that he is entitled to protection under the right against self-incrimination, the same only substantiates his culpability in commission of serious economic offence.
Vadra is facing a probe in connection with allegations of money laundering in purchase of a London-based property worth 1.9 million pounds. He had moved the trial court on February 1, seeking protection from arrest. On February 2, he was granted protection, which has been extended from time to time.
On April 1, the special court granted anticipatory bail to him and his personal assistant, Manoj Arora, in the same case, and directed them “not to leave India without the permission of the court”.
Vadra has now sought Special Judge Arvind Kumar’s nod to go abroad due to medical exigency.
Senior advocate K T S Tulsi, appearing for Vadra, however, requested the court that the medical papers and his itinerary details be kept secret and not be shared with any third party, otherwise it could jeopardise the security of the person.
The special judge directed the counsel for the ED and the investigating officer to ensure that “these documents should not be made public, including itinerary and medical reports”.
It asked the agency to verify details and medical reports furnished by Vadra’s counsel by May 29.
The agency, which sought to cancel Vadra’s anticipatory bail, also requested that Arora’s protection be withdrawn.
The agency said the trial court’s order granting anticipatory bail to Vadra be quashed on the grounds that he needs to be confronted with incriminating material to bring the investigation to a logical end.
The agency contended that the special judge has failed to consider the settled position of law as held by the Supreme Court that bail must not be granted in a routine manner, and in cases having impact on national interest and economic ramifications, the interest of the public and state are relevant facts to be considered while granting bail.
The ED stated that anticipatory bail, to some extent, “intrudes in the sphere of investigation of crime” and that courts must be “cautious and circumspect in exercising such powers of discriminatory nature”.
It said that Vadra is a highly influential person, so there is a likelihood that he may tamper with evidence and influence witnesses.
The ED said it wanted to “unearth the entire source of credits used for purchase of the said properties” and to ascertain the “role of other key persons involved in the commission of the offence and also to determine the modus operandi adopted by the accused persons”.
Vadra’s role cropped up during investigation of cases related to alleged arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari, wanted in India for alleged offences ranging from violation of foreign exchange rules to routing kickbacks in defence deals.