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Enforcement Directorate names Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in money laundering case linked to businessman CC Thampi

This marks the first time Priyanka Gandhi's name has been mentioned in connection with the case, which had previously involved her husband, Robert Vadra. The ED alleges a "long and thick" relationship between Robert Vadra and Thampi, citing common business interests.

Enforcement Directorate names Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in money laundering case linked to NRI Businessman CC Thampi
First Published Dec 28, 2023, 8:12 AM IST

In a significant development, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has, for the first time, implicated Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in the ongoing money laundering case connected to NRI businessman CC Thampi. Previously, the ED had named her husband, Robert Vadra, in earlier charge sheets related to the same case.

According to the ED statement, the investigation reveals that "Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra and daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra bought land in Haryana through a Delhi-based real estate agent who also sold land to NRI businessman CC Thampi."

The ED further alleges a "long and thick" relationship between Vadra and Thampi, extending to "common and business interests." The broader case involves fugitive arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari, who is under investigation for money laundering, violating foreign exchange laws, and the Official Secrets Act. Bhandari fled to the UK in 2016, with accused facilitators including Thampi and British national Sumit Chadha.

The latest chargesheet, filed in November, asserts that estate agent HL Pahwa, who sold properties to both Vadra and Thampi, received cash off the books for the land purchase in Haryana. The ED alleges that Vadra did not pay the full amount for the sale, and Pahwa also engaged in transactions with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

A press note released alongside the chargesheet mentions Vadra in connection with the purchase of a London property, asserting, "During the course of investigation in this case, it is found that a long and thick relationship exists between CC Thampi and Robert Vadra. Not only a personal/cordial bond but common and similar business interests are also found between them."

Thampi, who was arrested in January 2020, reportedly stated to the ED that he had known Vadra for over 10 years and that they met several times during Vadra’s visits to the UAE and in Delhi. The ED claims that Thampi used the services of Pahwa to buy 486 acres of land in Faridabad, Haryana, from 2005 to 2008.

The charge sheet alleges, "It is imperative to mention that Robert Vadra also purchased three pieces of land measuring 334 kanals (40.08 acres) in Amipur from [the same] HL Pahwa from 2005-2006 and sold the same land to Pahwa in December 2010. Further, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, wife of Robert Vadra, also purchased agricultural land measuring 40 kanal (5 acres) in village Amipur from Pahwa in April 2006 and sold the same land to Pahwa in February 2010."

The ED contends that Sanjay Bhandari acquired a London property in December 2009, renovated it with funds from Robert Vadra, and states that Vadra stayed there three to four times. The investigation continues to unfold, shedding light on intricate financial transactions and relationships involving prominent political figures.

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