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I-T probe into arms dealer uncovers 'Vadra home' in UK

There are emails related to renovation work done on the property

Policy Pulse
Publish Date: May 31 2016 1:13PM | Updated Date: May 31 2016 1:13PM

I-T probe into arms dealer uncovers 'Vadra home' in UK

 An investigation by the income tax department into transactions of arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari has trained the spotlight on his assumed connections with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra, particularly with regard to the ownership of a house in London.

 
Reports said papers seized by the department during searches in April on Bhandari's premises revealed a trail of emails between Vadra and his assistant on the one hand and the arms dealer's aide Sumit Chadha on the other on purchase of the London house for roughly Rs 19 crore in 2009. 
 
There are emails related to renovation work done on the property before it was sold in June 2010.
 
 As per ‘The Times of India’ report, Vadra's legal firm denied that he owned the property in London whether directly or indirectly. It also refused charge Vadra had any business connections with Bhandari or Chadha. 
 
“Our clients wish to categorically and unquivocally state that they do not own, directly or indi rectly, any house described by you as House No.12, Ellerton House, Bryanston Square, London," Robert Vadra's legal firm said.
 
The firm's response kept clear of spelling out whether Bhandari and Chadha were known to Vadra but denied they had business ties.
 
 "Our clients have no business relations with Sanjay Bhandari. Our clients further state that they have not entered into any transaction of a financial nature with Sanjay Bhandari or Chadha," the law firm said even as it alleged that its "clients are being made targets of an unjustified persecution and witch-hunt by false leakages by the government".
 
In another response to NDTV , the law firm said Vadra did not know of Bhandari's connection in "defence transactions", adding "our clients have scrupulously avoided even being remotely involved in relation to any defence transaction".
 
Bhandari, who is known for his contacts across influence spectrum and with a rising reputation as a middleman, came under the I-T department's scanner in linking with the probe launched in 2015 against shell corporations which created fake entries to route black money to political parties and passed off illegal contributions as genuine ones.
 
Reports added that I-T department had collected enough proof to start Bhandari's prosecution for tax evasion -something which will deliver the basis for Enforcement Directorate to probe him for alleged money laundering under the tough Prevention of Money Laundering Act. 
 
The matter has acquired political dimension, with Congress alleging witch hunt. 
 
"An individual is being systematically prosecuted and hounded time and again, year after year without an iota of evidence," Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala was quoted by ‘The Times of India’ as saying.
 
On the other hand, BJP MP Kirit Somaiya wrote to the ED on Monday asking for an inquiry into reports that Vadra "proxy-owned" property in London.
 
An investigation by the income tax department into transactions of arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari has trained the spotlight on his assumed connections with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra, particularly with regard to the ownership of a house in London.
 
Reports said papers seized by the department during searches in April on Bhandari's premises revealed a trail of emails between Vadra and his assistant on the one hand and the arms dealer's aide Sumit Chadha on the other on purchase of the London house for roughly Rs 19 crore in 2009. 
 
There are emails related to renovation work done on the property before it was sold in June 2010.
 
 As per ‘The Times of India’ report, Vadra's legal firm denied that he owned the property in London whether directly or indirectly. It also refused charge Vadra had any business connections with Bhandari or Chadha. 
 
“Our clients wish to categorically and unquivocally state that they do not own, directly or indi rectly, any house described by you as House No.12, Ellerton House, Bryanston Square, London," Robert Vadra's legal firm said.
 
The firm's response kept clear of spelling out whether Bhandari and Chadha were known to Vadra but denied they had business ties.
 
 "Our clients have no business relations with Sanjay Bhandari. Our clients further state that they have not entered into any transaction of a financial nature with Sanjay Bhandari or Chadha," the law firm said even as it alleged that its "clients are being made targets of an unjustified persecution and witch-hunt by false leakages by the government".
 
In another response to NDTV , the law firm said Vadra did not know of Bhandari's connection in "defence transactions", adding "our clients have scrupulously avoided even being remotely involved in relation to any defence transaction".
 
Bhandari, who is known for his contacts across influence spectrum and with a rising reputation as a middleman, came under the I-T department's scanner in linking with the probe launched in 2015 against shell corporations which created fake entries to route black money to political parties and passed off illegal contributions as genuine ones.
 
Reports added that I-T department had collected enough proof to start Bhandari's prosecution for tax evasion -something which will deliver the basis for Enforcement Directorate to probe him for alleged money laundering under the tough Prevention of Money Laundering Act. 
 
The matter has acquired political dimension, with Congress alleging witch hunt. 
 
"An individual is being systematically prosecuted and hounded time and again, year after year without an iota of evidence," Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala was quoted by ‘The Times of India’ as saying.
 
On the other hand, BJP MP Kirit Somaiya wrote to the ED on Monday asking for an inquiry into reports that Vadra "proxy-owned" property in London.