Court allows Vadra to travel abroad for medical treatment

New Delhi: A special CBI court on Monday allowed businessman Robert Vadra, facing money laundering charges, to travel abroad on medical grounds for a period of six weeks.

The order was passed by Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar on Vadra’s plea seeking to visit the United States and the Netherlands.

Vadra’s counsel KTS Tulsi , however, withdrew his client’s request to travel to London after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) raised objections on the same.

The court ruled that in case any Look Out Circular (LOC) is issued against him, it will remain suspended during the period of six weeks.

The judge directed Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, to furnish a Fixed Deposit Receipt (FDR) or bank guarantee worth Rs 25 lakh. “The applicant will submit the address of his stay abroad with telephone/contact numbers to the court before his departure,” the order copy read.

“He shall not tamper with the evidence nor try to influence any witness in any manner and shall not use the permission granted to him contrary to the rules,” the order said, adding that Vadra should inform the court about his arrival in India within 24 hours.

Vadra, who is being probed by the ED for his alleged involvement in a money laundering case, had sought permission to travel abroad citing medical reasons. He had, on May 21, knocked the doors of the court seeking permission for the same.

On May 29, the ED had opposed his application to travel abroad stating that it was a routine medical treatment.
Countering ED’s claim, Tulsi had submitted that a small tumour in his client’s large intestine has been detected, for which treatment was need.

“Robert Vadra has a tumor in his large intestine. He seeks the court’s permission for the release of his passport so that he can travel to London for medical treatment and can also get a second opinion from doctors,” Tulsi had stated.

“He was summoned last on March 8, and he has been cooperative. This proceeding should not turn to a death sentence,” Tulsi added.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing on ED’s behalf, had argued that Vadra has not essentially been asked to take a second opinion from a doctor in London.

“Doctor has mentioned (about a second opinion) ‘if you wish’,” he said.”The ED investigation is at a crucial stage. The medical condition is just a pretext,” he argued.

On a mention of Vadra travelling abroad for his daughter’s physiotherapy, the agency argued that she can be accompanied by someone else.

“It is apprehended that on the pretext of a medical condition, there may be tampering with evidence,” Mehta claimed. “There are treatments available in India,” he added.

The ED’s counsel also argued that there is a probability Vadra may not return to India if permitted to travel, to which Tulsi said, “Let’s not bring political vendetta into it. He won’t go to a city where the ED has an objection. He may consider not going to London.”

Vadra has been given protection from arrest on the condition that he cannot leave India without the permission of the court.