Rajasthan High Court has directed a representative of Skylight hospitality, a firm that is linked to Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra, to appear before Enforcement Directorate (ED) rejecting his plea for relief. He was summoned in connection with a controversial land in Bikaner.
Earlier this year the representative challenging the summons issued by the ED had moved to the high court.
Justice P K Lohra, dismissing the plea said that the representative of Skylight Hospitality would have to be present before the ED and has allowed the presence of a lawyer at a reasonable distance during the questioning session.
Rajeev Awasthi the ED’s counsel opposing the order argued that his summon was issued to a specific person and he was supposed to appear before the agency instead of challenging the same court.
Under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) the notice was issued to the firm by the ED.
The scrutiny is related to the purchase of 275 bigha land purportedly by the company in the Kolayat area which is the border town of Bikaner, Rajasthan.
A criminal case of money laundering in this case was registered by the central probe agency last year on the basis of the FIRs filed by the state police after the local tehsildar had lodged a complaint.
Although the ED had named some of the state government officials and land mafia in the FIR he had not mentioned the name of Vadra or any company linked to him. Cognisance of reports which had referred to a firm allegedly linked to Vadra had purchased some of these Bikaner located lands were taken into consideration whiling filing the case.
Vadra denied that there were any misdeed even Congress has mentioned tha5t it was the result of sheer political bickering.
In January last year Rajasthan government had cancelled the mutation of 374.44 hectares of land, after the land department claimed that the allotments were made in the names of illegal private persons.
According to the tehsildar 34 villages of Bikaner belongs to the government which is to be used for expanding the army’s firing range in the area. This plot of land was snatched by the land mafia by producing fabricated and forged documents in subversion with the government officials.
In this case huge amount of money was laundered as suspected by the ED as people bought land at cheap rates thorough forged documents.
Cancelling the mutations the state government had said that these were not issued by the Commissioner, Colonisation, Bikaner.
Last year in Kolayat the state police had also filed charge sheets in 18 cases in a court.
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