Robert Vadra May Be Private Citizen But Not Exempt From Questioning: BJP

Sanjay Bhandari is wanted in India for alleged corruption; the cases against him stem from the time when the Congress was in power.

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Robert Vadra May Be Private Citizen But Not Exempt From Questioning: BJP

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BJP attacks Congress over Robert Vadra's relationship with arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari

New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Robert Vadra appears to have close links to Sanjay Bhandari, says BJP
  2. Bhandari is arms dealer wanted for corruption, fled India last year
  3. Congress must explain if he bought flights and more for Vadra: BJP
The BJP says Congress leader Rahul Gandhi must account for reports that his brother-in-law, Robert Vadra, was gifted international flights by a controversial arms dealer. Senior BJP leader and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that Mr Vadra will be questioned about his dealings with Sanjay Bhandari, who fled the country in December amid myriad investigations.

"Why is the senior leadership of the Congress silent on the Vadra matter? They need to answer on the relationship between arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari and Robert Vadra," she said at a press conference. She also said that emails indicate that Mr Bhandari paid for Mr Vadra's London flat to be renovated in 2016. Mr Vadra had refuted those reports at the time.

"In this case... Congress' first family's son-in-law is linked to the person in question. Then, why shouldn't questions be raised... even though he is a private citizen... any party has right to raise questions ...we (BJP) will too," she claimed.

In the evening, Mr Gandhi attacked the government on Twitter over a controversy  over crony capitalism involving BJP chief Amit Shah's son, Jay Shah. Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, "Conduct any investigation that you choose, and come to a conclusion through a free and fair process of law of any wrong doing."

Ms Sitharaman said there are multiple grey areas involving Mr Vadra and Mr Bhandari including emails and bank account transactions that suggest financial dealings between them.

Mr Bhandari is wanted in India for alleged corruption; the cases against him stem from the time when the Congress was in power; charges against him include money laundering. He has been absconding since December when he flew out of the country, reportedly to London.

Mr Vadra has been investigated for allegedly getting sweetheart land deals in Haryana when the Congress governed the state. A report by a judge has been shared with Chief Minister ML Khattar who took charge of the Haryana after the BJP displaced the Congress in 2014. The report has not yet been made public; the BJP says it's being studied by the Supreme Court; leaks state that Mr Vadra is indicted along with former Chief Minister BS Hooda of the Congress. Mr Vadra was not interrogated in person by Justice SN Dhingra, who handled the inquiry.

Mr Vadra and Mr Hooda as also his party have denied any wrongdoing and described the investigation as a political witch-hunt.

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