ED notice to Vadra-linked firm in Bikaner land deal case

ED notice to Vadra-linked firm in Bikaner land deal case

New Delhi, July 1 (IANS) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued two separate notices to a firm linked to Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra and another person in connection with its probe into alleged money laundering in a land deal in Rajasthan’s Bikaner district, an official said on Friday.

The notices were served on Thursday seeking documents about the land deal.

“We had issued two separate notices on Thursday. The first notice was sent to Robert Vadra-linked firm Sky Light Hospitality while the second notice was served to a private person Mahesh Nagar who had sold the land,” an ED official told IANS.

The case pertains to acquisition of around 1,400 acres of land, sold to seven companies between 2009 and 2011. One of these was Sky Light Hospitality which purchased 275 bighas of land in two deals in Bikaner’s Kolayat tehsil.

For both the land deals, Mahesh Nagar of Faridabad was authorised for registration of the land at Surdhana Chauhanan in Bikaner.

The official said that Sky Light Hospitality has been issued notice for the second time as it failed to submit documents in response to the first notice served on June 21.

“Sky light Hospitality has been given 15 days time to furnish financial statements and other documents related to the firm to the agency,” the official said.

The officer said that a lawyer appeared before the ED last week in response to the first notice sent in the case to Sky light Hospitality, but it was dismissed as “unauthorised” because he did not submit any relevant papers or letter from the company about him being their representative.

The ED notice came after the central probe agency on May 5 carried out raids at eight locations in Bikaner and its nearby areas in Kolayat region.

ED registered a criminal case of money laundering in this case last year on the basis of FIRs filed by the state police after the local tehsildar had made a complaint.

The ED has not mentioned the name of Vadra or any company linked to him in the FIR but it named some state government officials and some of the “land mafia”.

While filing the case, it had also taken cognisance of reports that had referred to the firm linked to Vadra which purchased land in Bikaner.

Vadra has denied any wrongdoing even as the Congress has termed the ED action “sheer political vendetta”.

The ED suspects that huge amounts of money had been laundered in this case by people buying land at cheap rates through forged documents.

The agency is expected to issue summons to a number of other people and entities involved in the case in the near future, sources said.

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