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ED arrests Robert Vadra's close aide in foreign assets case

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested NRI businessman C.C. Thampi in relation to the infamous money-laundering case. The agency said that Thampi's arrest comes in the wake of the investigation involving Vadra, who is being probed in a money laundering case involving foreign assets worth 1.9 million pounds in the UK.

ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jan 21, 2020, 08.18 AM IST
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ED arrests Robert Vadra's aide Thampi for FEMA violations
ED arrests Robert Vadra's aide Thampi for FEMA violations
NEW DELHI: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested CC Thampi, a UAE-based NRI businessman who is alleged to be an associate of Robert Vadra and absconding arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari.

Thampi was arrested last Friday by the agency in connection with its ongoing probe into alleged money laundering and acquisition of undisclosed foreign assets linked to Vadra. The son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Vadra has denied any wrongdoing in the case.

Agency sources said during his questioning by the ED in February last year, Vadra had claimed that he had met Thampi on board an Emirates flight. However, during his questioning in connection with another case in April 2017, Thampi had purportedly told the ED that he had met Vadra through Sonia Gandhi’s personal assistant, P P Madhavan.

This contradiction in statements was being used by the agency to corner Thampi, who controls UAE-based Skylight Investments and the Holiday Group.

As per ED, the name of company SkyLight Investment FZE was changed to Mayfair Investment FZE in 2011in a bid to remove possibility of finding any links between name of companies of Vadra in India and in UAE.

Thampi, who held 100% shareholding of SkyLight Investment FZE, transferred his shareholding to his nephew Vadakkthela Cheru Geevar in 2011without any monetary consideration.

As per ED, Geever worked as a driver in UAE and the transfer of property was done to keep the beneficial owner intact. After IT raids on Sanjay Bhandari in April 2016, Mayfair company was transferred to a UAE national in June 2016.

ET was the first to report, on September 30, that the ED had asked Vadra to supply contact details of his alleged associates — Jagdish Sharma and CC Thampi — travel agents, proof of payments for tickets and hotel and other expenditure incurred during his visits abroad. It had also sought Vadra’s bank statements corroborating the money spent by him for his foreign trips.

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