Vadra linked to wanted arms dealer Bhandari’s aide: ED chargesheet – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: The Enforcement Directorate has told a special court here that C C Thampi, who worked for absconding arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari, was a close associate of Robert Vadra, husband of Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi.
The claim is part of the supplementary chargesheet filed by the agency against Thampi and Sumit Chadha, who are co-accused in the money laundering case against Bhandari. The latter is engaged in a grim battle to resist his extradition from the UK, where he has been detained on the basis of a complaint by Indian authorities.
Significantly, in its chargesheet filed in November, which the court took cognisance of on December 22, the ED has also claimed that Vadra had got a flat in central London, linked to Bhandari, renovated through Chadha and stayed there.
“Investigation revealed that C C Thampi is a close associate of Robert Vadra, who not only renovated the property at 12 Bryanston Square, London, through Sumit Chadha but also stayed in the same. Further, Vadra, as well as C C Thampi, purchased a huge chunk of land at Faridabad and had financial transactions with each other,” the ED said, disclosing some of the details of the chargesheet.
While India is fighting an extradition case against Bhandari, whose name figured in arms deals negotiated during the UPA government’s term, in the UK where he had fled after 2016, Thampi, a UAE-based NRI, was arrested by the ED in January 2020 for his links with the fugitive arms dealer. Thampi has been accused of involvement in acquisition of properties in London and the UAE from alleged payoffs received from several defence contracts signed during the UPA regime.
ED claimed that during interrogation, Thampi had told the agency that Sonia Gandhi’s personal assistant P P Madhavan had introduced him to Vadra.
Vadra, who has been interrogated by ED at least a dozen times in multiple money laundering cases, including the one in connection with the alleged properties in London, has always denied any link with Bhandari and any wrongdoing. He had termed ED questioning him as mere “political witch-hunt” intended to hound and harass him to serve a political agenda.

Thampi acted as a front for several shell entities floated in Dubai, which ultimately became owners of properties acquired overseas, ED alleged.
“Sanjay Bhandari held various undisclosed foreign incomes and assets, including properties at No. 12 Bryanston Square, London, and 6 Grosvenor Hill Court, London. These assets are proceeds of crime. C C Thampi and Sumit Chadha have been found to be involved in the concealment and use of these proceeds of crime,” ED has said in the supplementary chargesheet.
The first chargesheet in the case was filed against Bhandari in May 2020 when the court declared him a proclaimed offender and issued a non-bailable warrant against him. ED had then sought the court’s permission to interrogate Vadra for his connection with the arms dealer.
The agency has so far attached Rs 27 crore worth of properties in the case belonging to Bhandari, who has gone in appeal to UK high court against an order allowing his extradition to India in a case filed by the ED.
Amid the probe into activities of Bhandari, accused of having allegedly received bribes in the acquisition of Pilatus jets during UPA’s term, Thampi transferred his 100% shareholding in Skylight Investment FZE to the son of his stepsister, Vadakkethala Cheru Geever.


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