Kejriwal accuses Vadra of corruption in land deals; Congress hits back

IAC member Arvind Kejriwal on Friday accused Robert Vadra of corruption in land deals and providing illegal benefits to real estate company DLF.

Last Updated: Oct 06, 2012, 00:07 AM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: India Against Corruption (IAC) member Arvind Kejriwal on Friday accused Robert Vadra, husband of Priyanka Gandhi and son-in-law of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, of corruption in land deals and providing illegal benefits to real estate company DLF.

Addressing a press conference here, Kejriwal and his colleague Prashant Bhushan said Vadra purchased crores worth of properties between 2007 and 2010, whose worth today is over Rs 500 crore.

They further said Vadra`s wealth grew from Rs 50 lakh to over Rs 300 crore during the period.

“Vadra purchased these properties at throwaway prices with the help of a Rs 65 crore worth unsecured, interest-free loan which too was provided by DLF,” former Team Anna member Kejriwal alleged.

According to him, all these properties belonged to DLF.

"Robert Vadra acquired properties worth hundreds of crores (of rupees) from nothing. What is the source of these funds," asked Kejriwal. He distributed scanned copies of documentary evidence to back his claim.

“Why did DLF provide Rs 65 crore unsecured, interest-free loan to Vadra to buy its own properties? Why did DLF sell its properties to Vadra at throwaway prices? What did DLF gain by doing this? What benefit did Vadra provide to DLF?” Kejriwal further asked.

Bhushan said Vadra has purchased properties in several cities, including Delhi, Noida, Bikaner and Dehradun.

"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 claimed that Vadra floated five companies in his name and his mother’s to purchase these properties. Priyanka Gandhi was also once director of these companies but had later quit the firms, he added.

Bhushan accused the Haryana and Delhi state governments, run by the Congress, of selling land to DLF in contravention of rules. In return, DLF sold properties to Vadra at very nominal rates, he added.

“Why is DLF selling properties at such low prices? Is it because Congress is providing benefits to DLF through its state governments?” he asked.

Kejriwal said Vadra could be charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Income Tax Act.

Kejriwal said they have got all five companies’ balance sheets audited by a reputed Chartered Accountant. All these companies did no business transaction in the last three years, he added.

According to Bhushan, 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," he said.

“If we try to conclude, we can say that DLF wanted to give Rs 300 crores to Vadra. So, we are sure Vadra provided some benefit to DLF through the Congress,” Kejriwal said.

43-year-old Vadra was not in the capital and sources close to him said there was no reaction for the moment.

The Congress has termed the allegations "wild and completely unfair".

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said that these are "baseless, misconceived and utterly irresponsible" allegations.

"Coming ahead of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections, it shows that the so-called civil society groups are morphing themselves as a political party but it is nothing more than a B-Team of the BJP," he told reporters.

Tewari said, "It is the worst kind of political chicanery. Those very forces that were responsible for attempts to malign Congress leadership in the 70s and 80s have now resurfaced in a new avatar.

"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," said Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit.

"Why should anyone have to answer to anyone about any property they have unless there is anything illegal about it," said Dikshit, terming the allegations "wild and completely unfair".

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said, "We have not favoured anyone. We have given the land through through international bidding to the highest bidder in a transparent manner."

The Delhi government said it "is not in the business of allotting land to private entities" and dubbed Kajeriwal`s allegations "mischievous and misleading".

A DLF spokesperson said the business relationship with Vadra is "completely transparent" and was conducted to "highest standards of ethics".

On its part, BJP spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad accused the Congress governments in the National Capital Region of giving away huge chunk of land to DLF as a quid pro quo for benefits given to the son-in-law of Congress president.

He sought answers to questions as to why DLF should "dole out" flats and land to Vadra. "If DLF was doing charity to Vadra, then does it do similar charity to others?" he said.

Meanwhile, Kejriwal said they would make corruption revelations concerning another well-known name on October 10.