'Cheers, Robert Vadra' Said Email, Inquiry Expands To Dubai

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'Cheers, Robert Vadra' Said Email, Inquiry Expands To Dubai

Robert Vadra being investigated for allegedly owning benami house in London

NEW DELHI: 

Highlights

  1. Arms dealer may have been proxy owner for London home for Vadra: report
  2. Vadra's lawyers deny any links to arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari
  3. Inquiry expands to British Virgin Islands, Dubai and shell firms
A day after NDTV reported that the government is investigating whether an arms dealer bought a benami London home for Robert Vadra, the inquiry has expanded to the tax haven of the British Virgin Islands and Dubai.

Mr Vadra's lawyers have denied the allegations, and his mother-in-law, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, said they are the latest example of the government fabricating charges against her family.

The government's inquiry is based in part on emails allegedly sent by Mr Vadra and his assistant, Manoj Arora, in which they discuss payments linked to the London house as well as its interiors including a reference to chandeliers.

An email dated April 4, 2010 is signed off "Cheers, Robert Vadra" and is addressed to Sumit Chadda, a relative of the arms dealer in London, according to the report given by investigators to the Finance Ministry.

The report says: "There was an email dated 4.04.2010 in which Sumit Chadda reported the progress of work of renovation and repair work to Robert Vadra and asked for reimbursement of expenses." The report then quotes Mr Vadra replying "He would look into the issue" and added that his "secretary" Manoj will be "in touch".

Mr Vadra's lawyers have denied any links between him and the London home, but have not responded to NDTV's request asking for comment on whether the emails cited in government report are genuine.

Government sources say that they believe that the house in London, bought in 2009 and sold a year later, was bought by a shell company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands by defence dealer, Sanjay Bhandari, who was raided last month.

Two properties allegedly bought by him in Dubai for 24 crores are also being studied to determine who paid for them, and how. Investigators claim they are suspicious of a company named Skylite associated with the purchases; they say they have asked Dubai authorities to share information on the firm's ownership.

Mr Bhandari has ducked summons to appear for questioning on Monday and Tuesday, claiming he is unwell and needs a week-long respite, according to tax officials.

Last month, 18 properties including his home were raided, and though he allegedly tried to destroy his Blackberry handset, investigators were able to recover data from it and his computers. They claim they found emails sent by Mr Vadra and his executive assistant, Manoj Arora, in which they discuss payments in connection with the London home as also its interiors, including a reference to chandeliers.

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