In a major development, the Enforcement Directorate has arrested arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari’s close aide CC Thampi who is also Robert Vadra's aide - a Dubai-based businessman in a money laundering case. Thampi was arrested on last Friday in New Delhi and was remanded to three days custody.
Thampi has been under the scanner in the Sanjay Bhandari case. While he was called in for questioning in February 2019 when Robert Vadra was quizzed eight times, Thampi gave the ED summons a skip. He then claimed that he was suffering from cancer and was under medication in the U.S. The agency maintains that Thampi is a close associate of Sanjay Bhandari and Robert Vadra. He is being questioned regarding the London properties. A source in the agency maintains that he will also be questioned regarding Vadra’s alleged land dealings in Gurugram.
Thampi, a Dubai-based NRI is controller of Skylight Investments, FZE, Dubai and owner of Holiday Group. According to the ED, in 2009, Sanjay Bhandari's firm Santech FZE purchased 12 Bryanston Square property for 1.9 million pound sterling from a private holding called Vortex. As soon the property was sold, all shares of Vortex were purchased by Skylight Investments, Dubai. Thampi was earlier quizzed by the ED in Gurugram land scam.
ED sources claim that the agency has come across several properties, including a property worth 1.9 million pounds, another property worth 4 million pounds, one more property worth 5 million pounds and six other flats. These properties are in London and the agency suspects it may be associated with Vadra. The total worth of properties is over 12 million pounds.
The agency maintains that the London properties are part of kickbacks received in a petroleum deal. An amount of 1.9 million pounds was also received. The money was transferred to Santech International, FZC, UAE (a company controlled Sanjay Bhandari). Santech then purchased the 12 Bryanstone mansion from Vortex (Pvt holding) and later Vortex shares were transferred to Skylight Investment FZE UAE by NRI businessman Thampi.
During the questioning last year, when Robert Vadra was asked how he knew CC Thampi, he said in a February 6, 2019 statement that he met him on board an Emirates flight. CC Thampi, in his statement recorded on April 6, 2017, stated that he met with Robert Vadra through Sonia Gandhi’s personal assistant Madhavan. The contradiction in the statement is now being used as evidence by ED. Thampi allegedly helped Robert Vadra in routing money through a channel of shell companies. Republic TV is the only channel to have tracked down arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari in London in April 2019. When questioned, Bhandari feigned ignorance.