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Robert Vadra probe: Questions that Thampi evaded

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New Delhi, Jan 20, 2020-

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has claimed that NRI businessman C.C. Thampi who was arrested in connection with the money laundering probe against Robert Vadra has “failed” to answer various questions during the interrogation.

“Thampi during questioning failed to explain why Sanjay Bhandari (a close aide of Vadra) was monitoring the purchase of properties by his companies, why Sky Lite Investment FZE was transferred to different persons without monetary consideration,” a document filed by the ED before Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar said.

The ED alleged that Thampi had knowingly assisted Bhandari and Vadra in the process of laundering of proceeds of crime.

During the course of investigation under the provisions of the PMLA, the role of C.C. Thampi also surfaced and it was noticed that Bhandari along with co-conspirators Robert Vadra and Thampi evolved a scheme of money laundering by way of transferring the proceeds of crime multiple times from one individual to another to make things difficult for investigating agencies.

From the complaint filed under the Black Money Act, it was noticed that $4.9 mn was received on June 13, 2008 in the undisclosed bank accounts of Santech International FZC in Dubai, a company owned by Bhandari.

A company, Sky Lite Investment, was floated in April 2009 by Thampi for the purpose of acquiring immovable assets. No actual business was conducted in this company.

Bhandari identified a property villa D-44, Palm Jumeriah Dubai, to be purchased through Sky Lite Investment FZE for Dirham 8.6 mn in November 2009. However, this transaction did not materialise but the fact remains that the transaction about property to be purchased in the name of Sky Lite Investment of Thampi was monitored by Bhandari as the draft MoU for purchase was sent by the buyers to Bhandari and not to Sky Lite Investments.

After the deal failed to materialise, Bhandari identified and purchased London property by acquiring 100 percent share of Vortex Management Holdings, a British Virgin Islands-based company, by making payment from the account of Santech International FZC, a Bhandari company… Although the property at 12, Bryanston, UK was legally owned by Bhandari during December 2009 to June 2010 but as per evidence collected it emerged that the property was beneficially owned by Vadra through Thampi.

Thampi who was arrested by the agency on Friday in connection with the money laundering case involving businessman Robert Vadra, was sent to three-day ED custody after he was produced before Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar on Saturday evening.  (Agency)

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