ED questions Rahul Gandhi’s ‘close aide’ in money laundering case involving TMC’s Saket Gokhale

Image Source : PTI/FILE ED questions Rahul Gandhi’s ‘close aide’ in money laundering case involving TMC’s Saket Gokhale

In a money laundering case, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) questioned and recorded the statement of Alankar Sawai, a “close aide” of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. According to officials, the questioning was done pertaining to the case in which TMC spokesperson Saket Gokhale was recently arrested by the agency in Gujarat.

They further said that Sawai was interrogated and also confronted with Gokhale in Ahmedabad over three days earlier this week. A former banker, Sawai is considered to be a close aide of Rahul Gandhi, and is stated to be heading his research team.

The federal probe agency summoned Sawai after it arrested 35-year-old Gokhale on January 25 while he was in the Gujarat Police’s custody in connection with alleged financial irregularities in raising funds through a crowd-funding platform.

ED questions Gokhale about Rs 23.54 lakh bank deposits

The ED, while seeking Gokhale’s remand on that day, had informed an Ahmedabad court that when he was asked about Rs 23.54 lakh deposited in his bank account in cash over a year, Gokhale had told the agency that “this amount was given in cash by Alankar Sawai of the India National Congress for social media work and other consultancy”.

On being asked as to why Sawai had paid him in cash, Gokhale stated that only Sawai can answer this question, the ED told the court in its remand paper. “Further, on being asked regarding any written agreement with Alankar Sawai in respect of social media work he stated that it was an only verbal agreement with Alankar Sawai,” the agency said.

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What ED says?

The ED alleged that these cash deposits were received by Gokhale when he was a member of the Trinamool Congress (TMC). Sawai is understood to have been questioned about these instances and his statement was recorded under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

According to official sources, the questioning and confronting of the two has not helped them unearth the fund trail as stated by Gokhale even as Sawai purportedly denied making any cash payments. It should be mentioned here that the money laundering case against Gokhale stems from a Gujarat Police FIR.

(With inputs from PTI)

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