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robert vadraAThe Enforcement Directorate has issued a notice to a firm linked to Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, in connection with its probe into alleged money laundering in a land deal in Rajasthan’s Bikaner district.

Official sources said the notice has been issued to the firm Ms Skylight Hospitality under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The company has been asked to submit certain financial statements and other documents to the Investigating Officer (IO) of the case, the sources said.

The Enforcement Directorate had conducted extensive searches in this case in Rajasthan and other places last month and had claimed to have seized a number of documents.

The probe is related to the purchase of 275 bigha land allegedly by the company in the Kolayat area of the border town of Bikaner.

The central probe agency had registered a criminal case of money laundering in this case last year on the basis of FIRs filed by the state police after the local tehsildar had made a complaint.

The Enforcement Directorate has not mentioned the name of Mr Vadra or any company linked to him in the FIR but it named some state government officials and some of the “land mafia”.

While filing the case, it had also taken cognizance of reports that had referred to a firm allegedly linked to Mr Vadra which had purchased some of these Bikaner located lands. Mr Vadra has denied any wrongdoing even as Congress party called the action “sheer political vendetta”.

The agency had conducted similar searches in the case in Delhi last year.

Rajasthan government had in January last year cancelled the mutation (transfer of land) of 374.44 hectares of land, after the land department claimed to have found that the allotments were made in the names of “illegal private persons”.

The tehsildar had said in the complaint that the government land in 34 villages of Bikaner, to be used for expanding the army’s firing range in the area, was “grabbed” by the land mafia by preparing “forged and fabricated documents” in connivance with government officials.

The Enforcement Directorate suspects that huge amounts of money was laundered in this case by people buying land at cheap rates through forged documents.

The state government had, while cancelling the mutations, said these were not issued by the Commissioner, Colonisation, Bikaner. The state police had also filed chargesheets in the 18 cases in a court in Kolayat last year.

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