Delhi court allows Robert Vadra to travel abroad, says ED's case baseless

Robert Vadra
A Delhi court Friday allowed Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, to travel abroad on business, saying the ED's apprehension that he might tamper with evidence was without any basis.

Special judge Arvind Kumar granted permission to Vadra to travel to Spain from September 21 to October 8.

Vadra is facing allegations of money laundering related to purchase of a property in London, at 12, Bryanston Square, worth 1.9 million pounds.

The court said in its order that the Enforcement Directorate's case was based mainly on documentary evidence.

"The ED failed to point out any instance when the applicant (Vadra) tampered with the evidence or influence any witness. The apprehension of investigating agency that the applicant may tamper with evidence is without any basis," it said.

"The applicant is resident of Delhi and has deep roots in society, his family is based in India and his properties are also situated in India.... Thus considering the overall facts and circumstances of the case, the applicant is allowed to visit only Spain from September 20 to October 8, 2019," it added.

The court said that before leaving the country, Vadra would have to inform the court and the probe agency the address of his stay in Spain along with contact numbers.

The court directed him to submit Rs 25 lakhs fixed deposit receipt (FDR) with it.

It further directed him to inform the court about his arrival within 24 hours and not to tamper with any evidence or try to influence witnesses in the case.

"The applicant shall join investigation within 72 hours after being informed by the Investigating Officer. Applicant to submit copy of passport and visa after his arrival from Spain," the court said.

The ED had on Thursday told the court that Vadra may hamper the probe if allowed to travel to Spain and other European countries.

The application was an attempt to tamper the evidence and meet the co-accused, it had said.

The ED's submission was, however, opposed by Vadra's counsel and senior advocate K T S Tulsi, who said that the agency's allegations were unfounded and that the accused will return.

Vadra had on September 9 moved court seeking permission to travel abroad.

The court had in June allowed Vadra to travel to the US and Netherlands for six weeks on account of health reasons.

It, however, had not allowed Vadra to go to the United Kingdom.

The ED had expressed apprehension that the accused may destroy the evidence if allowed to go to the UK.

Vadra was directed on April 1 not to leave the country without prior permission by the local court here which had granted him conditional anticipatory bail.

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