ED arrests two key accused in Robert Vadra’s Bikaner land scam case

The Enforcement Directorate announced on Friday that it had arrested two people in connection with the Bikaner land scam case involving Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra.  These arrests have been made under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

As reported, two people named Jaiprakash Bagarwa and Ashok Kumar were arrested by the agency. Ashok Kumar is believed to be a close associate of Mahesh Nagar, linked to Ms Skylight Hospitality Private Limited. These arrests come after the ED had searched the premises of Ashok Kumar and Mahesh Nagar in April.

It is believed that Skylight hospitality is owned by Robert Vadra. It was issued a notice by the Enforcement Directorate in June, 2016 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, also in connection with the same land probe.

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The ED had registered a criminal complaint regarding the matter in 2015 after taking cognisance of state police’s FIR based on local tehseel’s allegations of a forgery in the Skylight’s purchase of 275 Bigha land in Bikaner’s Kolayat area.

The ED has a suspicion that large sums of money was laundered by people who brought land at cheap rates via forged documents.

The state government has already cancelled the transfer of 374.44 hectares of land in Bikaner district after it was found that land allotments were made in the name of fake persons. The Tehsildar of Kolayat has alleged in his complaint that government land in 34 villages in Bikaner which was meant to expand army’s firing range was grabbed by the land mafia through forged and fabricated documents.

We had reported in August that the Rajasthan government had recommended a CBI probe into controversial land deals, which were allegedly executed by Vadra’s company Skylight. The Rajasthan Police had lodged 18 FIRs in the matter which have been sent to the Centre’s Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) for issuing the notification of the CBI probe.

Such an action by the State government came after allegations that things had gone very cold on the Vadra front, so much so that reports surfaced which speculated as to whether the BJP was being gentle with him.

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