New Delhi: Amid rancorous politics on Rafale fighter jet issue, Union Minister Smriti Irani took a dig at Rahul Gandhi accusing him of telling “more lies” on the matter after he called Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharama a “liar”, and alleged that Gandhi’s brother-in-law Robert Vadra had a plush 1.9 million pound house in London, which is under the scanner of Enforcement Directorate.
At a press briefing, Irani said even after the Defence Minister placed all the facts in Parliament, it took Rahul Gandhi “48 hours to wake up, only to spread more lies”.
Raising issue of Gandhi’s brother-in-law Robert Vadra, Irani said the Congress’ ‘rashtriya damaad (national son-in-law)’ made headlines on Saturday when the Enforcement Directorate, while seeking non-bailable warrants for Vadra’s personal assistant Manoj Arora, informed a Delhi court that the plush house in London which is under the scanner belongs to Vadra.
Irani also mentioned the Enforcement Directorate allegation that Vadra has close relations with controversial defence consultant Sanjay Bhandari who is now hiding in London.
Citing some media reports, the Minister said: “The ED presented before the court and sought a non-bailable warrant against Manoj Arora. It is highlighted how digital evidence was procured during an Income Tax department raid on the premises of Sanjay Bhandari, a well-known arms dealer, who also happens to be a close friend of Robert Vadra.”
“The digital evidence procured during the raid reveals that Robert Vadra beneficially controls a house — 12, Bryanston Square, London in UK valued at GBP 1.9 million. In the digital evidence, which found communication between Vadra and others, has shown that the London house procured by Vadra underwent renovation to the tune of 66,000 GBP”.
“Media reports again highlight how Vadra indicated that the said amount can be addressed, paid by his assistant Manoj Arora. Even after three summons issued by ED, Arora refused to join the investigation. The ED has requested the court to issue a non-bailable warrant in the fear that Vadra’s personal assistant will flee justice,” Irani said.
“Today, it is upon us to request Vadra in the interest of justice to kindly tell his personal assistant to present himself before the ED,” Irani added.
The minister also said that the Congress President should “beseech his brother-in-law” to ensure that Arora presented himself before the authorities.
Refering to media reports, the Minister further alleged that important, confidential and sensitive documents relating to the Defence Ministry were found from the premises of Bhandari during the raid by the agencies.
“Since Vadra is a publicly known associate of Bhandari, he may also want to enlighten the nation as to how his arms dealer friend came to be in possession of sensitive defence documents,” Irani said.