NEW DELHI: Facing a probe by the Enforcement Directorate in a money-laundering case, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel has claimed that the investigation agency has failed to answer his question on who in the Gujarat government had bestowed benefits, privileges and honours to the Sandesara group, for which he is being quizzed.
Patel said he has answered 128 questions posed to him by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and thanked the agency for visiting him thrice in connection with the Sandesara money-laundering case.
"Thank you, officials of ED for coming to my house thrice," he said.
"I answered each of their 128 questions but they failed to answer my one fundamental question - Who in the Gujarat state government was responsible for bestowing multiple benefits, privileges and honours on the Sandesara group," Ahmed Patel wrote on Twitter.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra came out in Ahmed Patel's support and alleged that sending the ED to harass the senior party leader in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic shows the "perversion" of this government's priorities.
"Thousands are dying, our health workers are desperate for supportive measures, the economy is facing an unprecedented crisis, the Chinese are entering our territory, our soldiers are being killed, and this is what the Government is busy spending time on," she alleged in a tweet.
"They say crisis unveils the true nature of people, it appears the saying applies to governments as well," Priyanka Gandhi wrote.
The ED investigators questioned Ahmed Patel at his residence for about 10 hours on Thursday during the third round of his grilling in connection with the probe into the Sandesara brothers' bank fraud and money-laundering case.
"This is political vendetta and harassment against me and my family and I do not know under whose pressure they (investigators) are working," Ahmed Patel had claimed after his questioning.
The probe agency had earlier questioned the 70-year-old senior Congress leader in two separate sessions, clocking about 17 hours in total, on June 27 and 30.
He was allowed to be quizzed at home by the agency after the Congress's Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat refused to visit the ED office, citing the prevailing COVID-19 guidelines that discourage senior citizens from going out.
Officials said Ahmed Patel's statement is being recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
He is being questioned on his alleged links with the Sandesara brothers, the promoters of the Vadodara-based Sterling Biotech pharmaceutical company, and dealings of his family members with them.
The agency, last year, had questioned Ahmed Patel's son Faisal and son-in-law Irfan Ahmed Siddiqui in connection with the case and recorded their statements.
The Sandesaras are also facing separate probes by the CBI and the Income Tax department for their alleged nexus with some high-profile politicians and charges of corruption and tax evasion respectively. PTI