File photo of Robert Vadra. Photograph:( Zee News Network )
'Robert Vadra has a tumour in his large intestine. He seeks court's permission for the release of his passport so that he can travel to London for medical treatment,' Vadra's counsel KTS Tulsi said.
Delhi's Rouse Avenue Court on Wednesday reserved its order on businessman Robert Vadra's application seeking permission to travel abroad on June 3 on medical grounds.
Vadra, who is being probed for his alleged involvement in a money laundering case, had sought permission to go abroad citing medical reasons. He had, on May 21, moved a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court seeking permission to travel abroad.
During the hearing, Enforcement Directorate (ED) opposed Vadra's application to travel abroad stating that it's a routine medical treatment.
Vadra's counsel KTS Tulsi submitted that a small tumour in his client's large intestine has been detected, for which a doctor has to be consulted.
"Robert Vadra has a tumour in his large intestine. He seeks court's permission for the release of his passport so that he can travel to London for medical treatment and can also get the second opinion from doctors there," Tulsi stated. "Doctors have advised getting second opinion and this is a medical condition that can worsen with passing time."
"He was summoned last on March 8, and he has been cooperative. This proceeding should not turn to a death sentence," he added.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing on ED's behalf, argued that Vadra has not essentially been asked to take a second opinion from a doctor in London.
"Doctor has mentioned (about second opinion) 'if you wish so'," he said. "ED investigation is at a crucial stage. Medical condition is just a pretext," he argued.
On a mention of Vadra travelling abroad for his daughter's physiotherapy, the ED argued that the ward 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 ED has an objection.
He may consider not going to London."
Meanwhile, Vadra is expected to appear before the ED in Delhi on Thursday in a case related to land grab in Delhi-NCR, Bikaner in Rajasthan and purchase of properties in foreign countries.
The ED had last week summoned Vadra, the son-in-law of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, to appear before it for questioning on Thursday.
On May 24, the agency had requested the Delhi High Court for custodial interrogation of Vadra for questioning him about the source of funds used for the purchase of a London-based property worth 1.9 million pounds and ascertain the role of certain other people who allegedly helped him launder money.
Earlier, the high court had issued a notice to Vadra and his close aide Manoj Arora on a plea filed by the ED seeking cancellation of the trial court order granting them anticipatory bail in the money laundering case. The court has sought replies of Vadra and Arora on the plea and posted the matter for hearing on July 17.
The ED had claimed that Arora was aware of Vadra's overseas undeclared assets and was instrumental in arranging funds for buying the flat.
Vadra is enjoying protection from arrest on the condition that he cannot leave India without the permission of a special CBI court.