The Enforcement Directorate has approached the Rajasthan High Court seeking custodial interrogation of Robert Vadra in a benami property case. The Rajasthan High Court in Jodhpur will accordingly hear the matter.
According to reports, the ED has sought the High Court’s permission to question Robert Vadra and his associate Mahesh Nagar in the Bikaner land dealing case in its custody. A single judge bench of justice P S Bhati will hear the matter on Monday.
The case relates to purchasing of land by Vadra’s associate Mahesh Nagar on behalf of Skylight Hospitality, a company owned by Vadra. Nagar had power of attorney issued by the company, using which he had done land dealings on behalf of the company. In a sting operation done by Republic TV, Mahesh Nagar had said that Robert Vadra used different fronts and names for his land deals.
ED is also proving a land deal by Vadra’s company in Bikaner, where the land may have been obtained from farmers by looting and duping them. The state government had cancelled the transfer of 374.44 hectares of land sold in various deals after it was found that land allotments were made in the name of fake persons.
The ED had registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in this matter in 2015, after the state police had filed FIRs based on a complaint by local tehsildar alleging forgery in the deal. It is alleged that Skylight had sold 69.55 hectares of land to Allegeny Finlease at ₹7.41 lakh per hectare, but it had purchased the land at the rate of ₹ 1 lakh per hectare. Mahesh Nagar had bought and sold land on behalf of Skylight Hospitality.
The amount used by Allegeny Finlease to buy the land came from a loan given by Bhushan Power and Steel company (BSPL). In the same year, BSPL was granted an exemption of ₹500 crore by the Income Tax Settlement Commission (ITSC), a decision which has come under the scanner.
Earlier OpIndia had published an exclusive report with documents showing that Mahesh Nagar had signed on purchase documents on behalf of Robert Vadra. He had said that he was getting money from HL Pahwa, who is deeply involved with the Gandhi-Vadra family in land deals.