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Congress slams BJP over FIRs against Robert Vadra

LiveMint logoLiveMint 31-08-2017 Shaswati Das

New Delhi: A day after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered 18 FIRs (First Information Reports) against Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra, the party accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led governments at the centre and in Rajasthan of “malafide intent” to defame Vadra.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the Rajasthan government’s move showed it lacked any solid evidence against Vadra.

“Having failed in their vendetta attempts for three years, they have now started presenting false cases against Robert Vadra. The Rajasthan government has not found anything substantial and has now shifted the case to CBI. This shows that the government has no conviction in its own machinery,” Surjewala said.

The CBI has registered 18 FIRs in connection with land deals in Bikaner referred to it by the centre on the request of the Rajasthan government for alleged irregularities by companies, including one linked to Vadra. These cases were earlier investigated by the Rajasthan police.

The CBI said in a statement on Wednesday that the “cases are related to alleged fraudulent and fictitious claims and allotments in lieu of land acquired for Mahajan Field Firing Range, Bikaner, used by the Indian Army.”

“As many as 18 FIRs are registered. Four of them are against Vadra’s companies which were allegedly involved in illegal purchase of nearly 275 bigha (a bigha is around 0.4 acres) land. All the 18 FIRs are in connection with the purchase of close to 1,400 bigha of land under fake names,” Rajasthan home minister Gulab Chand Kataria said on 22 August after referring the matter to the CBI.

According to case documents, around 1370 bighas were then sold to others, generating huge gains.

In April, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted searches on the premises of two people allegedly associated with Vadra in connection with the same case. “The agency is looking at collecting and seizing important documents and other possible incriminating evidence in this case and hence, raids are being conducted on premises of two persons involved in the matter,” a senior ED official said then.

The Rajasthan police started investigating the Bikaner case in 2014. The ED got involved in September 2015 on the suspicion that some of the proceeds of the sale were laundered.

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