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December 2018
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National News
Robert Vadra Issued Fresh Summons In Bikaner Land Deal Case
 
(New Delhi, Nov 30, 2018):The Enforcement Directorate has summoned Robert Vadra, brother-in-law of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, in connection with its money laundering probe in a land scam case in Rajasthan's border city of Bikaner, officials said Friday.

They added that Robert Vadra was asked to appear before the investigating officer of the case next week and this was the second summons issued to him for recording his statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The officials said that as Robert Vadra did not appear before the investigating officer when the first summons was issued earlier in November, the second summons was issued to him.

The central probe agency had registered a criminal case in connection with the deal in 2015, taking cognisance of a clutch of FIRs and chargesheets filed by the Rajasthan police after the local revenue official of Bikaner complained about alleged forgery in the allotment of land in the area, considered sensitive due to its proximity to the India-Pakistan border.

The Enforcement Directorate, it is understood, wants to question Robert Vadra about the operations of a firm -- Skylight Hospitality Private Limited -- allegedly linked to him, which had purchased land in the area. It also wants to confront Robert Vadra with the statements of those said to be linked to him.

The agency was also probing the role of a big steel firm that gave loans to a company that bought the land from firms linked to Robert Vadra for a very inflated price, official sources said.

The agency, in the past, had also raided the premises of people linked to Robert Vadra, like Mahesh Nagar and a few others.

In December last year, the Enforcement Directorate had arrested Ashok Kumar, a close associate of Mahesh Nagar, and another person, Jaiprakash Bagarwa.

Mahesh Nagar is said to be associated with Skylight Hospitality Private Limited, the firm with alleged links to Robert Vadra.

The Enforcement Directorate had searched the premises of both Kumar and Nagar in April last year.

Mahesh Nagar was the "authorised representative" in four cases of land purchase in Bikaner.

Ashok Kumar, the agency alleged, had purchased land in the same area, using the "power of attorney" of others.

The Enforcement Directorate probe in the case is related to the purchase of a land measuring 275 bigha allegedly by the company in Bikaner's Kolayat area a few years ago.

The agency has also attached assets worth Rs. 1.18 crore of government officials and others in connection with the case under the provisions of the PMLA.

The Enforcement Directorate, in the past, had also issued notices to the firm and obtained certain documents from it.

The agency, however, has not mentioned Robert Vadra's name in its FIR filed under the PMLA. The FIR names some Rajasthan government officials and the "land mafia".

Robert Vadra had earlier denied any wrongdoing in connection with the land deal and the Congress had claimed that the case was a result of "sheer political vendetta".

The Rajasthan government had, in January 2015, cancelled the mutations (transfer of land) of 374.44 hectares of land, after the land department claimed to have found that the allotments were made in the names of "illegal private persons".

The revenue official had said in his complaint that the government land in 34 villages of Bikaner, to be used for expanding the Army's firing range in the area, was "grabbed" by the land mafia with the help of "forged and fabricated documents", in connivance with government officials.

The Enforcement Directorate suspects that a huge amount of money was laundered in the case as people bought land for cheap through forged documents.

The state government had, while cancelling the mutations, said those were not issued by the Commissioner, Colonisation, Bikaner.


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INTERNATIONAL NEWS
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KERALA NEWS
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 (Kochi, Nov 28, 2018): Model and activist Rehana Fathima, who tried to reach Kerala's Sabarim
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BJP leader K Surendran, 71 others granted bail
Sabarimala protests: Arrests up to 2061, Kerala HC warns police
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