The Enforcement Directorate has issued a notice to Skylight Hospitality, a firm owned by Robert Vadra and his mother Maureen, as part of its probe into allegations that the firm laundered money in a case of grabbing land in the Bikaner district of Rajasthan. Vadra is the husband of Priyanka Gandhi and son-in-law of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, and has been in the eye of the storm over allegations of widespread irregularities in companies owned by him.
The ED probe pertains to a purchase, made by the Robert Vadra-owned company, of land measuring 275 bigha in the Bikaner districts Kolayat region. Th ED had last month reportedly conducted several searches across Rajasthan and other places, and subsequently claimed to have seized several significant documents. The searches were similar to those conducted in Delhi last year by the agency.
A Press Trust of India (PTI) report quoted official sources as saying that the most recent notice had been issued to Skylight Hospitality under relevant sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). As part of the notice, the ED has asked the company to submit certain documents, including some that are financial in nature, to the officer investigating the case, the PTI report quoted the sources as saying.
However, the ED has reportedly refrained from naming Vadra or any company he owns or is linked to in the FIR, instead choosing to mention the names of some state government employees and some members of the local land mafia.
The Rajasthan government's land department had earlier claimed to have found that the allotment of 374.44 hectares of land had been made in the names of "illegal private persons," leading to the state government cancelling the mutation -- the transfer of land -- in January 2015.
The land, initially meant for the expansion of the local Army firing range, is suspected to have been taken over by the local land mafia, who are believed to have taken the help of state government employees to prepare false documents for the land. The ED believes many rich people have laundered money by buying pieces of this land at a low price using these forged documents.