New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate on Friday summoned former Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra in connection with a land deal case in Rajasthan, amid a spate of corruption allegations against family members of some of the country’s most powerful politicians and businessmen.

A rising number of top politicians and their kin find themselves in the cross hairs with the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate in several cases of alleged money laundering and disproportionate assets.

While the Enforcement Directorate had summoned Vadra earlier in the case, he had not appeared before the agency. In September 2015, the Enforcement Directorate registered a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), alleging that Vadra-owned Sky Light Hospitality had bought a piece of land in Kolayat, Bikaner, on the cheap and sold it at an extremely high premium through illegal transactions.

Vadra could not be reached for a response on the matter.

He was summoned just a day after the Union home ministry gave the Central Bureau of Investigation the sanction to prosecute Delhi government minister Satyendar Jain in a separate case of disproportionate assets.

Senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram and his son Karti are also under the scanner of the agencies for the former’s alleged role in Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearances in the INX Media case and the Aircel-Maxis case at the time when P. Chidambaram was the Union finance minister. Karti Chidambaram is being probed with regard to alleged kickbacks received by firms registered under his name.

P. Chidambaram did not respond to Mint’s queries seeking a response.

The Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate have also been investigating former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, his wife Rabri Devi and son Tejashwi Yadav in the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corp. Ltd (IRCTC) tender-issuance case.

In July 2017, the Central Bureau of Investigation registered a case against the three alleging irregularities in the award of a tender for the development, maintenance and operation of hotels in Ranchi and Puri to a private company in 2006, when Prasad was the Union railway minister.

In March this year, the centre informed the Supreme Court that 36% of members of Parliament (MP) and members of legislative assemblies (MLA) were under criminal trial in 3,045 cases.

Although the Central Bureau of Investigation is itself mired in controversy with its top officials at loggerheads, senior central government officials, aware of the developments, said the ongoing fracas in the Central Bureau of Investigation would not hamper the cases being probed, and that even top politicians who were guilty of wrongdoing would be brought to book.

“Business always goes on as usual. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a zero-tolerance policy against corruption. Contrary to allegations that some Congress leaders have levelled that we are unfairly targeting them, the agencies have solid evidence and cases against them and which is why they are under investigation. The law will run its own course," said a senior central government official, requesting anonymity.

Close