Robert Vadra, the controversial son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, has been allegedly involved in a benami deal, according to an exclusive report by NDTV. The report alleged that arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari had fronted for Vadra seven years ago and an inquiry by the finance ministry reportedly involves emails sent by Vadra and his assistant to Bhandari.
According to Outlook, which got access to the documents, reported that Bhandari was reportedly in contact with Sonia Gandhi and senior leaders from BJP and Congress. It also added that the source for funds of the London property (bought for almost Rs 19 crore) was alleged to have been funded by Bhandari.
A Times Now exclusive on Tuesday reported that the arms dealer Bhandari was connected to Deepak Aggarwal, who reportedly funds some political parties. It also added that a probe has been ordered by the Ministry of Defence and that Vadra's London mansion is under the scanner. Emails from Vadra to Bhandari's aide revealed that the latter did indeed front Vadra in the deal.
Earlier, Sanjay Bhandari was under the scanner for importing cars without custom duty and is being investigated by the CBI for the same. This isn't the first time Vadra has been in trouble either; an RTI filed by Dev Ashish Bhattacharya brought to light the fact that it was beyond Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's capacity to pay a minimal rent of Rs 53,421 for a sprawling 2,765 square metre colonial bungalow in the prized Lutyens' Delhi. The point to note here is that Priyanka's husband Vadra self-proclaimed, to ANI in an interview, the fact that he has always "had enough." He said, "I have enough. My father gave me enough. I have been educated enough to sustain in all types of situations." He further added, "I didn't need my wife Priyanka to enhance my life."
In March this year, the Punjab and Haryana High Court issued a notice to the Haryana government on a petition filed by Skylight Hospitality Private Limited, a company promoted by Robert Vadra, challenging VAT notice. Although, it didn't mention Vadra's name, it has been stated that in the run-up to parliamentary elections in 2014 and later in the Haryana assembly elections, frequent "unsubstantiated allegations" were levelled against one of the directors of the petitioner company as part of the "systematic vendetta".
Robert Vadra, who arguably shot to fame due to his business deals, was also mentioned in the documents released by India Against Corruption (IAC), which showed how he acquired land assests, in and around the National Capital Region (NCR), worth hundreds of crores of rupees, funded by interest-free loans given to him by DLF and other companies for no apparent reason. IAC alleged that Vadra's wealth grew exponentially from Rs 50 lakh to over Rs 300 crore in three years. Following that, a number of reports have questioned the veracity of Vadra-owned companies' balance sheets.
In 2015, Enforcement Directorate officials searched the premises of a firm in connection with a money laundering case arising out of land grab charges in Bikaner; however he dismissed those as "false accusations". In another incident last year, the Lok Sabha Secretariat sought an explanation from Vadra over his remarks on Facebook where he took a dig at the BJP-led NDA government.
Updated Date: May 31, 2016 19:48 PM