The Delhi High Court on Friday said that Income Tax authorities can proceed against Robert Vadra in the Black Money Act related case involving the purchase of London property but said that final orders can be passed after the case in High Court. The Division of Bench of Justices Rajiv Shakdher and Talwant Singh also granted three weeks’ time to Robert Vadra, husband of Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, to file his reply to the notices issued to him by the authorities under the Black Money Act (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) Act, 2015. The matter would be heard next on August 10.
Like all other accused in the Black Money case, Vadra’s main contention was that the Black Money Act was passed in 2015 only and they should not be charged for the previous purchases. The same was the argument of former Finance Minister Chidambaram’s family members and son Karti.
C C Thampi is a Keralite running a big liquor business and hotels in the Gulf region and is very close to Sonia Gandhi’s family members.
In December 2018, Robert Vadra had received a communication under Section 10(1) of the Black Money Act from the Office of the Additional Commissioner of Income Tax, Central Range-VII, asking him to furnish certain information in connection with the assessment for the year 2019-2020. As per the Income Tax department in 2010, Vadra had acquired the beneficial ownership of a property located at 12 Ellerton House, Bryanston Square, London for 1.9 million GBP in violation of the Black Money Act.
According to the Income Tax department, the purchase was created through the sale of the property by Sanjay Bhandari to one Skylite Investment FZE (UAE) whose shareholding had moved from C C Thampi to G V Cheru to Yahya Abraham over 2009 to 2016. Relying on 18 emails exchanged between Manoj Arora (Vadra’s PA), one Sumit Chadha and Vadra, the authorities alleged that Vadra carried out extensive renovation work in the property.
PGurus have reported a series of articles on Robert Vadra’s benami operators Sanjay Bhandari and C C Thampi. Sanjay Bhandari was also involved in arms dealing and having relations with many politicians cutting across the party lines. Hindustan Time’s Executive Editor Shishir Gupta was caught for unholy relations with Bhandari. As soon as agencies under Modi Government started acting, Bhandari escaped to London via Nepal. It is well known that many in BJP helped him to escape from India.
C C Thampi is a Keralite running a big liquor business and hotels in the Gulf region and is very close to Sonia Gandhi’s family members. Thampi who started his career as a bar attendee and later turned as a bootlegger in Ajman in UAE has become a billionaire by the mid-90s. He was arrested by Enforcement Directorate in January 2020 and is now out on bail. Thampi is popularly known as Kallu (Local Liquor of Kerala) Thampi and was a host of all Sonia Gandhi family members when they land in UAE.
Appearing for Vadra, Senior Advocate and Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued that the property originally belonged to a company named Vertex, which was acquired by Sanjay Bhandari and there was not a single document on record to show that Vadra was related to any of the parties. He also asserted that there was no evidence to show that there was any payment of consideration by Vadra to any party in connection with the property. Singhvi that out of the 18 emails in question, only one was sent by Vadra to Sumit Chada and the same was merely on “payment about repair”.
Singhvi also argued that the Black Money Act which was passed in 2015 could not be applied retrospectively to represent the case. Representing Income Tax authorities, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta stated it was malafide on part of Vadra to move the High Court against the assessment three years after the notice was issued in 2018. He said that Vadra must be directed to file his response by the deadline of May 31 and a final assessment order be allowed to be passed.
Additional Solicitor General Balbir Singh also argued that there were several “emails after emails” discussing the “development of the property” in London. Considering that the issue of retrospectivity of the Black Money Act was pending consideration before the Court in other petitions as well, the Court decided to hear Vadra’s petition along with them. “Limitation can’t run because of the Supreme Court order. Give him time. You proceed with the assessment but no final order. We have to consider your argument and his argument,” said the Bench.
 Why is MSM silent over involvement of Shishir Gupta of Hindustan Times with arms dealer Bhandari? – Jun 02, 2016, PGurus.com
 ED slaps Rs.288 crore FEMA notice on Janpath’s Dubai man C C Thampi – Feb 25, 2017, PGurus.com
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