ED quizzes RaGa’s aide Alankar in case against TMC’s Saket Gokhale

Sawai’s name emerged during the questioning of Gokhale in the alleged money laundering case.

New Delhi | Updated: 04 February, 2023 1:19 pm IST
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with arrested TMC leader Saket Gokhale (file photo)

In more trouble for arrested Trinamool Congress spokesperson Saket Gokhale, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has questioned Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s close aide Alankar Sawai in connection with a money laundering case, officials said on Saturday.

An ED official related to the probe told The New Indian that the agency recorded Sawai’s statement for three consecutive days. However, he did not reveal dates when he was questioned.

Sawai’s name emerged during the questioning of Gokhale in the alleged money laundering case. When Gokhale was asked about ₹23.54 lakh deposited in his bank account, the Trinamool Congress leader said that the “amount was given to him in cash by Congress’ Sawai of for social media work and other consultancies”.

In his statement on January 19, Gokhale told the ED that he had “informed the donors right from the beginning that the crowdfunding is for his sustenance so that he can carry his work full time without having to take up a job”.

“However, when he was shown his post shared on May 23, 2019, seeking support and contribution for the campaign Saket versus Modi in which nowhere he had mentioned that purpose of funds was for his sustenance, he backtracked from his earlier statement by stating that he has not raised the funds for his sustenance in this campaign but subsequent campaigns were for his sustenance,” the ED claimed.

“On being asked as to why Sawai paid him in cash, he said that only the Congress leader can answer this question,” the agency said.

The agency further said, “Further on being asked regarding any written agreement with Sawai in respect of social media work, he stated that it was only verbal agreement with Sawai.”

The ED arrested Gokhale on January 25 under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for allegedly embezzling nearly ₹1 crore collected through crowdfunding.

He is accused of diverting funds collected through crowdfunding. Gokhale allegedly collected ₹1.07 crore but used only ₹4,000 for the purpose the fund was collected.

On December 29 last year, he was arrested by the Gujarat Police from Delhi in a case registered by it on charges of misusing crowd-sourced money.

Earlier, the TMC leader was arrested by the state police and later released on bail in a case regarding a tweet for spreading fake news about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Morbi.

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