Links between Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra and arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari have been spoken about since it came out that Vadra’s London flat at 12, Ellerton House, Bryanton Square, was refurbished by Bhandari in 2016.
But Vadra denied any financial links with the arms dealer, who was under investigation, and there was nothing which could nail Vadra’s link with Bhandari, who fled to the UK. But Times Now has accessed documents that establish what appears to be a direct link between the two.
Emails accessed by the channel show that the agent bought Vadra’s air tickets.
Copies of two tickets accessed by Times Now show that in August 2012, Bandari’s travel agent – Paharganj-based International Travel Hom, operating out of Suite No.112, Hotel Satyam – sent two mails to Bhandari (email ID: firstname.lastname@example.org) with travel tickets worth Rs 8 lakh for Vadra for an Emirates flight. The mail sent on August 7, 2012, has details of Vadra’s travel plan for August 13 by flight No.EK71 with the confirmation number EAMTVB.
Another mail on August 17 at 4.58 pm from the same travel agent showed that Vishal Bajpai booked Vadra on Swiss flight (LX) 563 from Cote d’Azur airport in Nice to Zurich. The ticket shows a business class window seat with bassinet facility and extra leg space.
The questions that arise are did Vadra really fly on these tickets and the nature of the relationship between him and the fugitive arms dealer. Also, whether the two had a financial relationship and, if so, why did Vadra deny it last year? Income tax authorities had raided Bhandari on April 27 and April 30 last year.
Significantly, Bhandari paid for Vadra’s travel just when he was being investigated for his role in swinging a jet trainer deal for Swiss company Pilatus. One of the tickets booked for Vadra was for Zurich which is Switzerland’s financial capital.
It is pertinent to note that Pilatus won the deal, though the Indian PSU HAL had pitched its HTT-40 as a contender. HAL’s bid was known to be backed by the then defence minister A K Antony.
The government is making attempts to get Bhandari extradited. Three months ago, the Enforcement Directorate attached his properties worth over Rs 20 crore, including four luxury cars. He has also been slapped with violation of the Official Secrets Act. Times Now sent a detailed questionnaire to Vadra but till the time of writing this report, there was no response from him.