India: Kejriwal targets Gandhi clan over DLF deals, Congress defends, BJP slams

Saturday, October 06, 2012
New Delhi: Creating a political firestorm, activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal on Friday targeted Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, accusing him of getting huge amount of unsecured loans from real estate major DLF and indulging in corruption.

However, he cleared that he won't drag Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi's name in the controversy as he has no evidence against them.

Now, it is clear that with this announcement Arvind Kejriwal has threw the ball rolling for a hectic political debate when all the political parties were already engaged in the acrimonious war game of the approval of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail and followed by insurance and pension sectors too. 
Kejrwial and his team dropped their "corruption bombshell" by naming Robert Vadra, husband of Priyanka Gandhi, as a beneficiary of Rs 300 crore in a huge property deal by DLF Company under which he was allegedly given properties in a throwaway price.

This has come close on the hells of Kejriwal’s announcement to form a political party and to contest election in the upcoming nation’s polls.  

Slamming Gandhi’s clan, Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhusan in a press conference said DLF, which got land from Congress ruled governments after the process of land acquisition from the local farmers, gave unsecured interest free loans to Vadra to buy only their property at very cheap prices.

He grew his wealth to Rs 300 crore with the meagre property of Rs 50 lakh which was given as loan, (interestingly without any interest) by DLF, Kejriwal alleged.

From where he enlarged his empire, what were the businesses and in place of rebate on interest on loan amount what services were paid (if any), all should be probed, they said.

He asked why did DLF - one of the biggest realty firms of India- sanction Rs. 65 crore loan to Vadra without any interest.

"What appears is that DLF is giving Vadra money to buy their properties at a throwaway price. It is ridiculous. Now the question is why DLF gave interest free unsecured loan to Vadra?

"We all know that DLF has got many plots of land from Haryana and Delhi governments for development. The company got lands from these Congress ruled states- Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan."

"Is DLF giving this property to Vadra because they are getting benefits from the Congress governments in these states?' asked Bhusan.

They demanded that Vadra should be investigated.

"They are looting openly because they [Vadra] know that they are son-in-law of first family," Bhusan said.

The anti-corruption crusaders said Vadra and his mother were involved.

"This is Robert Vadra ghotala [scam]," said activist Shanti Bhusan.

Kejriwal said they got the documents judged by qualified chartered accountants.

DLF wanted to give Rs 300 crore to Vadra through six companies, Kejriwal alleged, adding that 350 acres of land was given to DLF in Haryana.

"We know there would be no investigation. Who will probe it? CBI? We now appeal the people of India to come forward," said Kejriwal.

Robert Vadra, now 43, married  Priyanka Gandhi (now Vadra) in 1997. The couple have two children, Raihan and Miraya. Vadra is a businessman in Delhi and he was also linked to DLF Limited earlier. 

Soon after the charges were slapped, the entire Congress machinery was out defending the Gandhis with Sonia Gandhi herself in a one-liner statement denying Vadra misused his position. Congress called Vadra a soft target of publicity hungry Kejriwal.

DLF also in a brief statement denied the charges, while Robert Vadra, who is now abroad reportedly, was unavailable for comments.

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said a probe should be ordered to ascertain the truths of the allegations.

The Congress president herself reacted as she said, “there was "no misuse by Robert Vadra."

DLF issued a statement saying the "business relationship with Robert Vadra is completely transparent, conducted to the highest standards of ethics. "

While allegations were made about land transfer to DLF in Congress ruled Haryana, the chief minister of the state reacted.

Congress senior leaders in unison called the charges as political chicanery aimed at tarring the Gandhis black.

Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi also denied any link with DLF and Congress but said "if someone has done a mistake, law will take its own course."

Meanwhile, the BJP soon picked up the matter and demanded a probe.

BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said the nation should know what business credentials Robert Vadra has that he rose so high in three years from a small businessman status.

"We demand proper investigation of these allegations," said Prasad.

BJP said if the company called DLF were doing charity "then for whom they were doing the charity?"
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