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6-min read

News18 Daybreak | Robert Vadra to Face Second Round of Questioning Today and Other Stories You Need to Watch Out For

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Updated:February 7, 2019, 8:56 AM IST

What to Watch Out For

Priyanka Gandhi takes charge as AICC Gen Sec as husband Robert Vadra faces ED probe

Newly appointed All India Congress Committee’s General Secretary for Uttar Pradesh East, Priyanka Gandhi took up office on Wednesday. Gandhi came to take charge as the Congress General Secretary at the party headquarters after dropping off her husband Robert Vadra at the Enforcement Directorate’s Office.

"I stand by my family,” she asserted to hordes of waiting cadres and journalists.

Vadra, who will undergo a second round of questioning today, is facing a probe in a money laundering case relating to the alleged possession of illegal foreign assets.

What happened: Robert Vadra was reportedly grilled for five hours by the ED on late Wednesday evening over his connection with an alleged money laundering case related to properties in UK.

The businessman, who was granted interim protection from arrest until February 16, was questioned about his associations with absconding arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari. The ED has claimed that Vadra purchased the properties through the Bhandari.

Past controversies: Earlier, in 2013 Vadra’s name cropped up in the Manesar land scam case involving the former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda. It was alleged that the Hooda-led Congress Government in Haryana had allotted subsidized land and had changed ‘land use’ permissions for Hooda’s close friends and relatives including the former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law.

The opposition party at the time – the BJP had used this as a linchpin in their campaign against the Congress government, and finally clinched victory in the Assembly Elections.

According to the 80,000-page CBI chargesheet, which was filed at the time, Vadra’s company- Skylight Hospitality had purchased three acres of the land for Rs 7 crores but then went onto sell it for a whopping Rs 58 crore.

In 2012, Arvind Kejriwal, who was an activist in Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement at the time, had also alleged that DLF had given Vadra an interest-free loan of Rs 65-crore in return for political favours by the state Congress goverments. DLF responded by saying that it had dealt with Vadra as a private entrepreneur and that no quid pro quo took place.

He said she said: BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra alleged in a press conference that Vadra bought 8 to 9 properties in London from the money he got as kickbacks from a petroleum and a defence deal which took place in 2008-09.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi however claimed the charges against Vadra are "fickle, superficial, non-existent, non-substantive". The BJP had full four and a half years to investigate but could not find anything, he said in another press conference.

Mamata Banerjee also stood by their ally and said,” There is no serious case, nothing, just sending the notice casually to everybody. So we stand together, we are united.”

Kolkata CP Rajeev Kumar to file counter affidavit against CBI before SC

Two days after the two-judge Supreme Court bench led by CJI Ranjan Gogoi directed Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar to make himself “available” for questioning by the CBI in the chit fund scam cases, the top cop is set to file a counter affidavit. In his affidavit Kumar will be contesting the CBI’s claim that he was the head of the Special Investigation Team which had lead a probe in the Saradha chit fund scam. The past few days witnessed a major showdown between the Mamata Banerjee-led government and the Centre after CBI officials landed up on Kumar’s doorsteps to investigate his alleged role in the scam. What followed was a row between the CBI and the Kolkata police personnel who refused the officials entry, even detaining 15 officials. The West Bengal CM then began a three-day sit-in protest to ‘Save The Constitution’ after condemning the Centre’s actions as undemocratic.

Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar. (PTI)

Gadkari to inaugurate Kosi Parikrama Marg project and expansion of Ayodhya-Kashi corridor today but all still not well in BJP’s mandir plans

As a part of the Centre’s Mandir outreach plan ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari will be in Ayodhya today to kick start plans to improve the critical Kosi Parikrama Marg and expand the Ayodhya-Kashi corridor. But, it seems that the BJP’s attempts to be voted to power once again, especially through its insistence on the construction of the Ram Mandir, might just fall short. Read Suhas Munshi’s report on how pilgrims have taken to the Ram Mandir narrative and why it seems that 2019 will be unlike 1991.

RBI Policy Committee three-day meet to end today, experts say change in stance on key rates expected

The RBI Monetary Policy Committee’s three-day meet to decide on key rates, which began on Tuesday, will end today. The monetary agency is expected to change its stance to neutral on low inflation but may not cut rates due to fiscal challenges and rising oil prices. A research report of DBS Economics said it would be a "tricky monetary policy path for RBI" as the government projected fiscal slippage in the Budget which was announced last week. This is the first MPC meeting under RBI governor Shaktikanta Das, who took charge in December 2018 following sudden exit of Urjit Patel.

What You May Have Missed

SC reserved order on review petitions in Sabarimala verdict as Devaswom Board backs entry of women

The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its order on petitions seeking review of judgment permitting women of all ages to enter Kerala’s Sabarimala Ayyappa temple. A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi heard submissions on behalf of parties, including the Kerala government, Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), Nair Service Society and others and said that it would pronounce its order as to whether to review the judgment or not. In an unprecedented move, the TDB, which manages the temple took a U-turn in the top court on Wednesday by supporting the ruling which had allowed women of all age groups to enter the shrine. The board, which had earlier been in opposition to the entry of women in the temple, told the court that it was high time that a particular class not be discriminated on the grounds of "biological attributes".

Police personnel assist devotees to climb up the 18 sacred steps of the Lord Ayyappa temple for offering prayers, on the 2nd day of Malayalam month of 'Vrischikom,' in Sabarimala, on Sunday. (PTI)

Delhi court gives police time till Feb 28 to prosecute Kanhaiya Kumar and others accused in JNU sedition case

A Delhi court on Wednesday has gave the Delhi Police time till February 28 to procure the sanctions needed to prosecute former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar and others in the 2016 sedition case. According to the police the sanctions are pending with the Delhi government and are expected in a matter of days. Meanwhile, the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday was also informed of the delay and was told that the case was taking more time as it was exhaustive, involving several accused, witnesses.

Search Committee headed by Justice Ranjan Prakash Desai invites application for Lokpal panel

The Search Committee for Lokpal headed by Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai on Wednesday invited applications for the position of Chairperson and Members of Lokpal. The move comes following the apex court’s decision on January 17, in which a February-end deadline was fixed for the search committee to recommend a panel of names for appointment of the country's first anti-graft ombudsman. Earlier this week, social activist Anna Hazare called off his seven-day fast for the formation of Lokpal at the Centre and the Lokayuktas in the states after assurance from the Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. Hazare had also demanded for the implementation of Swaminathan Commission's recommendations for tackling agrarian distress and electoral reforms.

On Reel

It is said that the road to Delhi goes through Uttar Pradesh and rightly so since it sends 80 lawmakers, the highest by any state, to the parliament. However due to BJP’s recent electoral defeats in the Hindi heartland states and a resurgent opposition in UP, the battleground may shift further east. News18 Explains why Bengal could become the gateway to Delhi in 2019 elections.

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