Gehlot's brother skips ED summons, asked to appear again on August 4

Officials said Agrasain Gehlot cited some health issues and sought adjournment of the summons for sometime
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's elder brother Agrasian Gehlot skipped appearing before the Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday for questioning in a money-laundering case, citing health issues, officials said.

His son Anupam Gehlot, however, reached the agency office in Delhi and was questioned about his business links with a company promoted by his family, Anupam Krishi.

They said the agency also handed over a fresh summons for his father to appear before it on August 4 in connection with the money-laundering case linked to alleged financial irregularities in exporting fertiliser.

Agrasain Gehlot was asked by the central probe agency to depose before the investigating officer of the case on Wednesday in Delhi under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Officials said Agrasain Gehlot cited some health issues and sought adjournment of the summons for sometime.

On July 22, the central agency raided Agrasain Gehlot's premises in Jodhpur and a few other places in connection with the case filed under the criminal charges of PMLA.

Officials had said that agency sleuths seized a number of documents during the raids and Agrasain Gehlot required to be confronted and questioned about his fertiliser business and about his associates.

Some other people involved in the case have also been summoned by the probe agency this week.

The raids came about after the agency filed an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR), the ED equivalent of a police FIR, in a 2007-09 Customs department case registered for alleged irregularities in the procurement and export of subsidised Muriate of Potash (MOP) meant for farmers and investigation in this case was finalised in 2013.

The ED took cognisance of the Customs FIR and a July 13 charge sheet to press money-laundering charges to probe a "smuggling syndicate" allegedly run by Agrasain Gehlot, his firm Anupam Krishi and others, officials said.

The agency said the case pertains to fraudulent export of MOP in the guise of industrial salts to buyers based in Malaysia and Taiwan. The MOP is a restricted commodity for exports so that it is easily available to farmers in the country.

The ED action came at a time when a political slugfest was on between CM Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot.

Pilot, a former Union minister, was sacked as Rajasthan deputy CM and PCC chief recently.

Responding to the raids, Congress leader Randeep Surjewala had told reporters, "Prime Minister Modi has created 'raid raj' in the country but we are not going to be scared."

When the Centre's "gimmicks" failed to topple the Congress government in Rajasthan, ED raids started at the premises of Gehlot's elder brother, he had said.

Agency sources had said Agrasain Gehlot and his firm were slapped with over Rs 60 crore penalty by the Customs department for these alleged export irregularities in 2013.

It is alleged that Gehlot's company "diverted" 35,000 metric tonnes of MOP that had a value of Rs 130 crore in the international market.

The ED alleged Agrasain Gehlot, in his capacity as a dealer, was the custodian of the MOP and was "solely responsible" for its proper distribution to farmers, and his alleged connivance with the company Saraf Impex Pvt Ltd and others resulted in the diversion of MOP that was imported by Indian Potash Limited at a concessional rate of duty.

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel