Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's elder brother Agrasain Gehlot appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Delhi today for questioning in a money laundering case against him and others linked to alleged irregularities in fertiliser export. His statement is being recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Agrasain Gehlot appeared before the probe agency with his lawyer at around 11:30 AM.
He had earlier been questioned in this case but had approached the court seeking relief from the agency's action.
The Rajasthan High Court recently had asked him to cooperate with the agency in the investigation as it directed the Enforcement Directorate to not take any coercive action against him, the sources said.
The agency had raided his businesses in Rajasthan in July last year. The raids came amid a political fight between Ashok Gehlot and his then deputy Sachin Pilot in the state. The ruling Congress in the state had said it will not be scared of such actions by central probe agencies.
Agrasain Gehlot's son Anupam had also deposed before the agency in the case.
The ED action of last year came after the agency filed a criminal case under PMLA based on a 2007-09 Customs department case which 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 financial probe agency took cognisance of the Customs FIR and a charge sheet (filed on July 13, 2020) in this case to press for money laundering charges and probe a "smuggling syndicate" allegedly linked to Agrasain Gehlot, his firm Anupam Krishi and others.
The agency had said the case pertained to fraudulent export of MOP, a restricted commodity for exports, in the guise of industrial salts to buyers in Malaysia and Taiwan.
Its export is restricted to ensure its availability to Indian farmers, they had said.
The Customs had imposed a penalty of over Rs 60 crore on Agrasain Gehlot and his firm for these alleged export irregularities in 2013, agency sources said.
It was alleged by ED sources that Agrasain Gehlot's company allegedly "diverted" 35,000 metric tonnes of MOP valued at Rs 130 crore in the international market.
The ED claimed that Agrasain Gehlot, in his capacity of being a dealer, was the custodian of the MOP and was "solely responsible" for its proper distribution to the farmers and his alleged connivance with a company - Saraf Impex Private Limited - and others resulted in the diversion of MOP that was imported by Indian Potash Limited at concessional rates of duty.