Robert Vadra Visits ED Office For Round 12 Questioning

Robert Vadra reached the Enforcement Directorate office on Thursday morning for yet another round of interrogation in a money laundering case. Before heading to the ED office, Vadra put out a Facebook post reaffirming his faith in the judiciary and claiming innocence.

“Till date, I have deposed 11 times with questioning of approximately 70 hours. In the future also, I will cooperate as always, till my name is cleared of all false allegations and accusations,” Robert Vadra said in a Facebook post uploaded sometime before he left home.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who has lately been accompanying Robert Vadra to the ED office to send a message to the government that she had her husband’s back, dropped him off today also.

In the past, Vadra has described corruption cases filed against him as political vendetta, insisting that the ruling BJP-led national coalition often used the cases against him to divert attention from inconvenient issues and controversies. His lawyers say that if the central probe agency could not find any evidence against him after 70 hours of grilling, it means that they really don’t have a case.

During his election campaign, PM Modi often alluded to cases against Vadra and others promising to send them to jail in his second term.

Robert Vadra’s 12th round of questioning started hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi is sworn-in for his second innings.

The ED has already asked the high court to cancel the anticipatory bail granted to him by a subordinate court so that it can arrest and question him in the case pertaining to alleged money laundering in the purchase of a London-based property worth 1.9 million pounds.

“From the investigation conducted so far, it is revealed that he is involved in the commission of the offence of cross border and domestic money laundering. He is the beneficial owner of various properties under the investigation in the case, which have been acquired through the proceeds of crime,” the agency said in its petition.

The high court will take up this request in a fortnight or so.

An application by Robert Vadra to seek permission to travel to London for medical reasons is also pending before a Delhi court.

ED Probes Into Etihad’s Investment In Jet Privilege Pvt. Ltd.

Enforcement Directorate (ED) has started an initial investigation into Etihad Airways PJSC’s investment in Jet Privilege Pvt. Ltd. (JPPL) which is the frequent- flyer programme of Jet Airways (India) Ltd.

ED is seeking to find out whether certain foreign direct investment (FDI) norms were violated when the Etihad Airways took a stake in JPPL in 2014, said a senior ED official.

“ED is examining Etihad Airways’ investment in JPPL and whether there were any violations of FDI norms in the process,” the official said, adding that the agency was also probing if Etihad secured the necessary approvals from the erstwhile Foreign Investment and Planning Board (FIPB) for making the investment. India abolished FIPB in May 2017.

The ED official said the agency had called certain Jet Airways officials for questioning this month to understand the structure of the deal that saw Etihad pick up a controlling stake in JPPL. “Previous queries raised by FIPB to both Jet and Etihad immediately after the deal in 2014 had gone unanswered,” said the official.

The probe threatens to intensify woes for Jet Airways, which suspended services on 17 April amid a cash crunch and over $1 billion in debt. A revival of the carrier depends on securing investors to infuse funds. Lenders to the airline have called for bids from potential investors by Friday.

JPPL was incorporated as a wholly-owned unit of Jet Airways in 2012, but was hived off as an independent entity in 2014 after Etihad bought a 50.1% stake for $150 million valuing the firm at $300 million. Etihad’s JPPL investment was part of its overall $600 million investment in Jet Airways announced in April 2013.

ED Issues Summons To Chanda Kochhar, Husband Deepak Kochhar In ICICI- Videocon Case

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued fresh summons this week against former CEO of ICICI Bank Chanda Kochhar, husband Deepak Kochhar and her brother-in-law Rajiv Kochhar to appear for questioning in a money laundering case.

The agency is probing whether a part of the ₹300 crore loan that she allegedly received as illegal gratification was laundered.

ED is probing a case of money laundering based on a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) case. The CBI case is probing alleged irregularities and corrupt practices in sanctioning of ₹1875 crore of loan to Videocon International Electronics Ltd by ICICI Bank in 2012.

Of this, a term loan of ₹300 crore was allegedly a part of quid pro quo for the business group’s dealings with her husband. Chanda Kochhar is alleged to have misused her office and received illegal gratification through her husband from Dhoot for this ₹300 crore loan.

While ED has summoned the Kochhar brothers on 30 April, Chanda Kochhar has been summoned on 5 May, said an official with the investigative agency.

The ED on 1 March had conducted series of searches at the residence and office premises of Kochhars as part of its investigations.

“The ED has called them with their bank account details and statements to verify the trail of money,” said the official.

It is alleged that Videocon group’s promoter Venugopal Dhoot had invested in the Deepak Kochhar company, NuPower Renewables Ltd through his firm Supreme Energy. This transaction was alleged quid-pro-quo for loans cleared by the ICICI Bank and Chanda Kochhar was part of the credit committee of banks which sanctioned ₹40,000 crore loan to the Videocon group. Out of this ₹3250 crore was given by ICICI Bank. A large portion of the loan by ICICI Bank to Videocon group was unpaid at the end of 2017. The bank then proceeded to declare the ₹2810 crore of unpaid loan as Non Performing Asset.

ED Questions Robert Vadra On Day 2, Goes On For 9 Hours

Robert Vadra, brother-in-law of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for the second day lasting for about 9 hours on Thursday regarding the investigation into some assets located in the United Kingdom. He may be summoned again on Saturday. 

Mr. Vadra’s questioning started around 11.30 a.m. and continued for about two hours, after which he stepped out for lunch and then rejoined the probe. He left the ED office around 9.15 pm. Ms. Vadra had come to pick him up.

On Wednesday, Mr. Vadra was examined by the investigating team for over five hours. Earlier this month, he had approached a city court seeking anticipatory bail in the matter. His counsel submitted before the court that he was then abroad and would join the probe on February 6. Accordingly, the court granted him protection till February 16.

Mr. Vadra has denied all the allegations. In his bail plea, he had alleged that he was being subjected to unwarranted, unjustified and malicious criminal prosecution which on the face of it was completely politically motivated and was being carried out for reasons other than those prescribed under law.

It is learnt that during questioning, the agency confronted him with some email exchanges pertaining to a London property located at 12,Bryanston Square, worth 1.9 million pounds. The Directorate has alleged that the property, which was sold in 2010 at the same price despite incurring expenses due to renovation works, was beneficially controlled by him.

The ED, which sees an alleged link between the overseas assets and some petroleum deal in 2009, is also probing the ownership of another house and six flats located in London.