(Eds: Adds details, merges related stories) Jaipur, Feb 12 (PTI) Robert Vadra, Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s brother-in-law, and his mother Maureen Tuesday appeared before the Enforcement Directorate here in connection with a probe into an alleged land scam in Rajasthan’s Bikaner district.
AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra dropped them off at the ED’s zonal office, taking time off from her four-day Uttar Pradesh trip in a show of solidarity with her husband.
On Facebook, Vadra accused the Narendra Modi government of being vindictive ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
This was Vadra’s first appearance before the ED in Jaipur in connection with charges of money laundering through land deals made by a company linked to him. Vadra was asked by the Rajasthan High Court to cooperate with the agency.
His Jaipur appearance follows soon after he faced ED questioning for three days in Delhi on charges of money laundering, allegedly through property purchased in London.
Vadra is also facing charges of irregular land deals in Haryana’s Gurugram district.
Vadra and his mother reached the ED’s zonal office at Bhawani Singh Road, amid tight security arrangements.
Maureen Vadra was allowed to go after some time.
Vadra was permitted to leave around 1.30 pm for an hour-long lunch break.
Near the ED office, some Congress workers shouted slogans in support of Priyanka Gandhi, and also repeated the slogan given by her brother Rahul Gandhi, calling Modi a thief .
Chowkidar chor hai, they shouted.
Several hoardings were put up nearby showing pictures of Priyanka Gandhi and her husband Robert Vadra, and saying the people wanted Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi to come to power.
Jan Jan ki hai yehi pukar, Rahul ji-Priyanka ji abki baar, the banners said.
Rajasthan Congress vice president Archana Sharma, however, claimed she was not aware of such posters.
“The party has not put up any such hoardings,” she said.
Before the questioning started, Vadra accused the government of harassing his elderly mother by putting her through it.
As I always have adhered to rules and overall being a disciplined person, I have the ability to sustain any amount of hours of questioning and having nothing to hide, I will answer every question with respect and dignity. This too shall pass and will make me stronger, he said.
“So here we are my 75-year-old mother and me in Jaipur to depose in front of the Enforcement Directorate. Not understanding the lows of this vindictive government to be harassing a senior citizen, who the world knows has lost her daughter in a car crash, her ailing son to diabetes, and her husband as well,” he posted.
In the Bikaner case, the agency had summoned Vadra thrice but he failed to appear before it.
The Rajasthan High Court asked him and his mother to cooperate with the agency after they approached it, seeking directions that no coercive action is taken against them by the ED.
The ED had registered a case in connection with the deal in 2015, taking cognisance of a clutch of FIRs and chargesheets filed by the Rajasthan police after the Bikaner tehsildar complained about alleged forgery in land allotment.
It is understood that the agency wanted to question him about the operations of Skylight Hospitality Private Limited, allegedly linked to him, which purchased land in the area.
It also wanted to confront Vadra with the statements of those said to be linked to him.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.