New Delhi: An allegation by civil society activists Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan that Congress president Sonia Gandhi‘s son-in-law Robert Vadra had been hugely favoured by realty major DLF today triggered a political storm with the Congress dubbing it as “baseless and utterly irresponsible” while BJP demanded a probe.
At a press conference here, Kejriwal and Bhushan alleged that Vadra had bought property worth crores of rupees between 2007 and 2010 with an “unsecured interest free loan” of Rs 65 crore from given by DLF.
They claimed that Vadra had secured the loan from DLF to companies floated by him and his mother with a seed capital of just Rs 50 lakh. Forty-year-old Vadra, married to Priyanka Gandhi, was not in the capital and sources close to him said there was no reaction for the moment.
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.
A DLF spokesperson said the business relationship with Vadra is “completely transparent” and was conducted to ”highest standards of ethics”. Kejriwal and Bhusan claimed an analysis of the balance sheets and audit reports of the five companies run by Vadra showed that they had no income from any legitimate business activity except the interest derived from the DLF’s loans.
Demanding an independent probe into the whole issue, Kejriwal and Bhushan alleged that Vadra used the loan provided by DLF to buy 31 properties, including five flats from DLF itself with a market value of Rs 35 crore for a meagre Rs 5 crore.
They claimed that the market value of these properties was worth around Rs 500 crore. The two activists, who have recently floated a political party, said the transactions of Vadra raised several questions, including why DLF gave such large unsecured loans and why should the company should sell its properties to him at throwaway prices on the basis of funds obtained from the real estate major.
They alleged that there could be quid pro quo between DLF and Vadra for favours to the company through Congress governments in Delhi , Haryana and Rajasthan.
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. Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said, “We have not favoured anyone. We have given the land through through internatinal bidding to the highest bidder in a transparent manner.”
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.”