New Delhi: Days after making his political move, Arvind Kejriwal Friday accused Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, of corruption in land deals. The Congress termed the allegations “wild” and “political chicanery of the worst kind”.
Addressing a press conference, Kejriwal and his colleague Prashant Bhushan alleged that Vadra bought property in Gurgaon and other places at rates much below market rates and sold them at huge profit.
“Robert Vadra acquired properties worth hundreds of crores (of rupees) for nothing. What is the source of these funds,” asked Kejriwal. He distributed scanned copies of documentary evidence to back his claim.
Kejriwal, who announced his polictial party last week, alleged that Haryana government had acquired 350 acre land in Wazirabad in Gurgaon for public interest but gave it away to DLF for building flats, in which Vadra owns seven flats. Vadra, 43, is married to the Congress president’s daughter, Priyanka Gandhi.
“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,” he said.
Team Kejriwal also alleged that all the property transactions were done in Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi, which are ruled by Congress governments.
The team distributed documents which included the list of 31 properties that are said to belong to Robert Vadra.
Slamming Team Kejirwal for the allegations, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari termed it “political chicanery of the worst kind”.
Tewari said that Kejriwal and his associates were “up to same old tricks on the eve of polls. It is clearly evidence that the so-called civil society that is trying to morph as a political outfit is the B team of the BJP. They are the same side of the coin.”
“I don’t want to dignify with a response, and dismiss (the charges) with the utter contempt they deserve,” said Tewari, adding that Vadra has a “right to private remedy” in case he wants to file a complaint.
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.”
“Why should anyone have to answer to anyone about any property they have unless there is anything illegal about it,” Dikshit asked, terming the allegations “wild and completely unfair”.
Real estate giant DLF declined to comment.
Law Minister Salman Khurshid teamed Kejriwal’s outfit “a party without a cause”.
He said the attack on private individuals, because of their association with eminent people in the Congress, was in poor taste.
Khurshid said the party would reflect on the matter and give a “befitting reply”.
However, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said the country “is entitled to know what is the source of funding of Vadra’s ventures”.
“The BJP demands a proper fair investigation of all these things should be done,” said Prasad.
He said it should be probed why DLF would “do such charity for Vadra”. “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.”
In a statement, Delhi government said it “is not in the business of allotting land to private entities” and described Kajeriwal’s allegations as “mischievous and misleading”.
“The Delhi Chief Secretary has clarified that the allegation that Delhi Government allotted land to DLF is factually incorrect, mischievous and misleading as alleged by Kejriwal. The allegation is aimed at maligning and vilifying the Delhi Government and has no substance,” the statement said.