Book Kejriwal if allegations against Vadra wrong: Anna
Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan have alleged that Robert Vadra had brought property in Gurgaon at rates far below market rates.
New Delhi: Social crusader Anna Hazare on Saturday called for a judicial probe into the assets of Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
His comments came a day after his former team member Arvind Kejriwal levelled the charge of corruption in property deals at Vadra.
"If the allegations are wrong then why is there no judicial probe. I would say let there be judicial probe and then facts will come out," CNN-IBN quoted Anna as saying.
Commenting on Kejriwal, Anna advocated for a probe against the India Against Corruption leader if the allegations are false. "If allegations levelled by Arvind are false, then order a probe and let the facts speak. If the allegations are false, file a case against Arvind Kejriwal."
If investigation proves charges against Robert Vadra as incorrect, then he can file a defamation case, suggested Hazare.
On Friday, India Against Corruption flung an explosive charge of corruption in property deals at Vadra, triggering furious denials from both the government and the Congress party.
Just three days after announcing the birth of his political party, IAC leader Arvind Kejriwal and his lawyer colleague Prashant Bhushan alleged that Vadra had brought property in Gurgaon and other places at rates far below market rates and sold them at huge profit.
Real estate giant DLF, they said, had given an unsecured interest free loan of Rs 65 crore to Vadra, and asked why the firm would do so if it was not thriving in the Congress-ruled states of Haryana and Rajasthan.
"Robert Vadra acquired properties worth hundreds of crores (of rupees) for nothing. What is the source of these funds?" Kejriwal asked at a press conference. He distributed scanned copies of what he said was "documentary evidence" to back his claim.
They alleged that Vadra`s wealth grew from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 300 crore in three years. There was no immediate response from the 43-year-old buisnessman who is married to the Congress president`s daughter Priyanka Gandhi.
Kejriwal alleged that the Haryana government acquired 350 acres of land in Wazirabad in Gurgaon for public interest but gave it away to DLF for building flats. Vadra, he said, now owned seven of these flats.
"In the last four years, Robert Vadra has gone on a property buying binge and has purchased at least 31 properties mostly in and around New Delhi, which even at the time of their purchase were worth several hundred crores (of rupees)," Bhushan alleged.
Bhushan said the balance sheets of five companies set up by Vadra and his mother show that the "total share capital of these companies was just Rs 50 lakh". "This massive property buying spree by the son-in-law of the ruling dynasty in the country gives rise to several important questions."
Team Kejriwal said all the property transactions were done in Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi, all ruled by the Congress. It distributed documents listing 31 properties said to belong to Vadra.
Congress veterans and ministers reacted angrily to the charge, the first of its kind against a member of the influential Gandhi family, saying the IAC was levelling wild and baseless allegations.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari termed it "political chicanery of the worst kind". He called Kejriwal and his associates "the B team of the BJP".
A fuming Environment Minister Jayanti Natarajan branded the allegations "shameless, shameful, below the belt" and added: "It puts the integrity of my entire party into question."
Law and Justice Minister Salman Khurshid accused IAC of hitting "below the belt" in order to tarnish the image of the Congress leadership.
In late night television debates, Bhushan reiterated the charge, asking why plush flats had been sold far below the market price to Vadra.
He also made fun of Khurshid`s explanation that friendships often played a determining role in corporate deals.
Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit said the story "had come out in the Economic Times earlier. This is an old strategy of Kejriwal... Vadra had explained the position at the time... He pays his income tax and has a right to live as he wants. It is unfair to drag the Congress into it".
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) jumped into the fray, saying the country "is entitled to know what is the source of funding of Vadra`s ventures".
"It`s a quid pro quo. Wherever there were Congress governments, the company (DLF) got land. It is important to tell the nation what business Robert Vadra`s company does," said BJP`s Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda denied allegations of collusion with DLF, saying his government`s transactions had always been transparent.
The Delhi government said it "is not in the business of allotting land to private entities" and dubbed Kajeriwal`s allegations "mischievous and misleading".
(With IANS inputs)