Putting a stop to the Enforcement Directorate's push for Robert Vadra's custodial interrogation in a money laundering case, a special CBI court in Delhi today granted his anticipatory bail plea. The court also allowed anticipatory bail to Vadra's close aide Manoj Arora. Both of them have to furnish a personal bail bond of Rs 5 lakh, ANI reported.
The ED has alleged that Vadra, husband of Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi, and his associates received kickbacks in a UPA regime petroleum deal between state-run Oil & Natural Gas Corporation and Samsung Engineering, the proceeds of which were used to buy several plush properties in London of which Vadra is the "ultimate beneficiary". The list reportedly includes a property worth 1.9 million pounds at 12, Bryanston Square.
The agency had also claimed that there was reasonable apprehension that Vadra being a highly influential person would tamper with the evidence and hamper the investigation. Vadra and Arora were out on interim bail so far.
The Delhi court reportedly also made it clear that the duo cannot leave the country without permission. Other conditions imposed on the accused include not tampering with any evidence or influencing any witness in the case, and joining the investigation when called upon by the authorities.
Separately, the Delhi High Court last week asked the ED to file its response to another petition filed by Vadra seeking the quashing of the money-laundering case against him. The agency opposed Vadra's plea saying it was an abuse of process of law and was not maintainable as he "wilfully suppressed" material facts from the court. A bench of justices Hima Kohli and Vinod Goel asked the ED to file its response in the form of an affidavit regarding the maintainability of two separate but similar petitions by Vadra and his close aide Manoj Arora within two weeks. The court listed the matter for further hearing on May 2.
With PTI inputs
(Edited by Sushmita Choudhury Agarwal)